QR codes are everywhere. On packaging, in restaurants, on posters… If you’ve never seen one, you’ve been living under a rock. For those that know what they are, they can act as a gateway to a digital treasure chest of content and essential information. But if you have no idea what these strange symbols mean, they simply look like a malfunctioning Game Boy screen from the nineties…

What are QR codes?


Quick Response codes are unique, two-dimensional patterns of black squares on a white background. They can be read by imaging devices such as a smartphone camera, which re-directs the user to an online destination – usually within an app or browser – where content is usually shared with the user. They are a simple way to bring a more immersive experience to a consumer, or to give essential information to potential customers. QR codes are starting to now be used as payment methods by niche payment companies and apps.

How do QR payments work?

Many people think that a special reader to read QR codes is essential, and ignore many codes which may potentially be interesting and useful, simply because they don’t understand that they can be scanned using just a smartphone camera. It really couldn’t be easier – next time you see one, pull out your smartphone and snap it.

Merchants can now generate QR codes which initiate a payment. This is done using a payment operator’s specialised software which makes a specific pattern for the product and price. When this has been generated, customers simply scan the code and the payment is made using stored card information on the same app.

Clearly this process provides a significant obstacle, in that both the merchant and the customer need the QR code software in order for funds to be transferred. But if the ubiquity of QR codes continue to grow, and customers and merchants recognise the ease and speed with which these payments can be made, they will become a very eligible payment option in years to come.

Are QR payments right for you?

QR payments make payments fast and straightforward for customers and merchants – the merchant merely shows the code to the customer, and the customer uses their smartphone (which nobody is ever very far from!) to scan the code and make the payment. For merchants with high footfall, QR codes could easily help them rocket people through their store.

Touch points such as pins and passwords aren’t needed with this payment method. The customer can check the authenticity of the transaction by making sure that the details of the merchant match up within the app. If it takes off, the use of QR payments could easily take over the world, given that, globally, around 3 billion people have smartphone access.

Because the customer initiates and controls the entire transaction without revealing a PIN or making physical contact with the merchant’s device, the risk of fraud is significantly reduced. The QR code payment method has an advantage over contactless cards payments because phone passwords stop fraudsters from breaking in and accessing the payment software.

At the forefront of payments innovation

Secure Trading keep pace with the latest payments technology and have the payment gateway and acquiring solutions to help you to create new and inventive payment methods for your customers. To find out how our flexible, international payment options can drive your business into the future, or if you are a payment app looking to speed up your payments with QR codes, get in touch with us today.