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QR Code’s journey to scan and pay

According to a recent report, the QR codes payment market size is anticipated to grow from USD 11.2 Billion in 2022 to USD 51.58 Billion in 10 years, growing at a CAGR of 16.5.

One of the most unlikely beneficiaries of COVID-19 was the now ubiquitous Quick Response (QR) code. The demand for a simple and easy way to convey large amounts of information without human contact heralded new life for the small black square that’s now helping to drive cashless payments.

According to a recent report, the QR codes payment market size is anticipated to grow from USD 11.2 Billion in 2022 to USD 51.58 Billion in 10 years, growing at a CAGR of 16.5.

While QR codes can be used to scan and pay, they can also be used to promote virtual stores, personalise shopping experiences, give direct links to menus, pricelists and product information, provide details of provenance to reduce counterfeiting and provide instant access to the internet via WIFI QR codes.

The secret to their flexibility lies in their ability to store 350 times as much information as a traditional one-dimensional barcode. Easy to produce and scan, they have become a vital bridge between physical and digital experiences and connecting services simply and with minimal effort.

QR’s journey from niche to mainstream

But it hasn’t always been this way. Did you know that the QR code was invented in 1994 by Denso Wave, a Japanese company? Its original use was to track parts as they moved through its automotive assembly process.

It took 16 years for QR readers to become widely available. The codes then became popular on security badges and passes, but they still lacked a true killer consumer application – until COVID. When the pandemic hit, merchants and consumers were looking for ‘touchless’ tools to keep physical sales channels safe. Easily scanned using POS devices and smartphones, the handy QR code becomes an instant and easy fix.

Today, QR codes are an integral way to engage customers and enable in-store and online payments across a wide range of sectors. From fast food and hospitality to department stores and multilane. The QR code has also become a saviour of many small businesses including charities, traders and stall holders giving them easy access into the cashless world.

Why they’re popping up everywhere

QR codes are now in daily use with applications expanding across all sectors. For example, restaurants use interactive menu QR codes as an alternative to physical menus, healthcare industries leverage QR codes to streamline contact tracing initiatives, marketers use QR codes to lead target markets to online campaigns, and businesses deploy QR codes for B2B payment systems.

The accelerated popularity of the QR code is connected to the wide-scale proliferation and use of mobile phones especially in commerce. Smartphones with connectivity and cameras have made QR codes accessible to most modern shoppers.

QR codes are also easy to incorporate into merchants’ operations with minimal investment. Using a free online code generator, they can choose a format, add the data, customise and test before printing ready-to-go codes for use in-store, on location, online and in their retail marketing. Having a “scan to pay” QR code is an attractive way to attract mobile-first customers, especially for small merchants, and in sectors like hospitality.

Being able to scan QR codes at the checkout is now a must for merchants

With QR codes increasingly being used in the context of payments, if you’re a merchant it’s increasingly important that your POS device can scan and read them – whether to initiate a transaction, access order information, or confirm a sale.

At Castles Technology, all our Android POS devices can accept a wide variety of payment methods including QR codes. This includes our recently announced new-generation S1 MINI mobile device which is the smallest fully-featured handheld POS terminal available anywhere.

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