Quick notes

  • QR codes are easy ways to find information fast.
  • This new technology is even being used to purchase everyday items.
  • The QR code in the United States was ahead of its time.

Many people often recognize QR codes by their distinctive design. But, do you actually know what a QR code is and what they’re used for?

QR codes, which is short for quick response codes, were first designed in 1994 for the Japanese auto industry. Today, QR codes are used for everything from connecting to people’s social media accounts to paying for goods internationally. Here’s what we know about how a QR code works and how to pay with it.

What exactly is a QR code?

In a lot of ways, a QR code works similar to a traditional bar code. A smartphone camera scans the image and interprets the bits of information represented as black squares and dots. After scanning the QR code, you may be taken to a webpage or social media profile.

For QR codes created for purchases, a retailer will scan the code on your phone as a form of payment. In a lot of ways, QR code payment is much simpler than electronic fund transfers or other card payments. There’s less equipment required, and the cashier scans the QR code on your phone like any other barcode.

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QR codes are increasingly popular in Asia. In fact, it’s estimated that more than $1 trillion of QR-code transactions have been made in China alone. In South Korea, the central bank plans to roll out a QR code payment plan similar to China’s. South Korea even uses QR codes to boost tourism.

However, QR codes in the United States is a whole different story.

QR code popularity

It’s understandable why QR codes are so popular. They make things easy and efficient. Although QR codes are primarily popular in Asian countries, they haven’t taken off in the United States.

When QR codes hit the U.S. market back in 2010, they were a bit ahead of their time. Most people didn’t own a smartphone then. In addition, most data loading was rather slow if you did own a smartphone. Therefore, the QR code lost its efficiency by creating a lag time between snapping a photo of the QR code and the end web page.

However, this was nearly ten years ago. Today, QR codes are more efficient than ever. This is especially true since its estimated 2.5 billion people in the world own a smartphone.

Back in 2010, QR codes were a bit ahead of their time. Most people didn’t own a smartphone then. In addition, most data loading was rather slow if you did own a smartphone. Therefore, the QR code lost its efficiency by creating a lag time between snapping a photo of the QR code and the end web page.

Are QR codes in America a total lost cause? Not exactly. Given the increased popularity of wireless pay with credit cards and smartphones, QR code may make a comeback in the United States at some point.

Although they were definitely ahead of their time in 2010, QR codes have made a big comeback. This is especially true when it comes to paying for goods and services. Soon enough, we may live in a world where nearly everything can be paid via QR code. After all, we do live in an age that values a quick response.

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