QR - here to stay

QR-codes are not a new phenomenon. The fact is that the technology behind it has existed since 1994. But it’s not until now, 25 years later, that its use has really grown in popularity. In this article Magnus Lageson, product owner at Swish, shares his thoughts on the benefits of using these square codes, and on why he predicts a bright future for them.

QR-codes, short for Quick Response-codes, saw the light already in the middle of the 90s, but it’s not until now that we can see a sharp increase in the use of them. At Swish we launched QR-codes in 2017, with the aim of enabling fast and simple payments without having to enter a phone number. Initially, relatively few saw the benefits of using the codes, and we were happy to see an increase of 55 percent in usage of our QR-codes between November 2017 and April 2018, mainly between customers and businesses (C2B).

Although the use of QR-codes has increased in Sweden, we’re far behind China. This Eastern country initiated staggering 1,65 trillion payments with the use of QR-codes – already in 2016! But how is it that QR-codes is what broke through, when other solutions such as NFC (near field communication) and Bluetooth exists? During the fall last year, some colleagues and I went to China to find out why.

QR-codes are simple, cheap and reliable both to create and share – you only need a phone with a camera in order to be able to scan the codes. But besides the simplicity in initiating payments, QR-codes are useful for a bunch of other things. A while ago, I was impressed when I visited a Swedish construction area and saw that they used QR-codes to gather all the information that would be of interest to the construction workers, such as job descriptions and floor plans. A simple scan and all the information was available in their phones.

In other words, the benefits of using QR-codes are many. Not only because they in a simple and easy way gives people access to a lot of information and reduces the risk for miss communication – they are also getting even more secure. Many QR-codes are today nearly impossible to imitate – and the risk for distribution of fake QR-codes is therefore minimized. Not least, the use of paper is reduced, something yet so important for a sustainable future.

With that being said, I’m looking forward to following how the future of QR-codes will evolve. Above all, at Swish we think that they will play an important role in the increasingly boundary crossing commerce online and offline

/Magnus Lageson, Product Owner

April 26th, 2019