With the increasing acceptance of contactless payments — considered a more sanitary solution — quick response (QR) barcodes could see a resurgence in use among retailers.
The technology has been around since the early ‘90s, but several factors have brands revisiting its use for marketing and payment solutions. For one, unlike encrypted smartphone wallets, QR has an advantage in allowing customers to view and use unique virtual code without downloading an app.
Like other non-cash payments innovations, overseas markets have been quicker to embrace them. Take for example China’s WeChat Pay and Alipay systems, which both use QR codes and are used by millions of shoppers daily. Scanning a colorful 2D barcode in the WeChat app gives users a wide range of services — from adding a new contact, to applying special promo codes to paying street food merchants. Meanwhile, Snapchat — of which WeChat parent company Tencent is an investor — has been pushing further into integrating AR lenses into its growing e-commerce offerings.