Apps. Bots. AI. Blockchain. Cloud. Biometrics. Contactless payment—the financial services industry has committed itself to digital innovation over the last decade—and it’s just the start. The recent pandemic too disrupted the industry and ushered in the resurgence of QR Codes—a unique contactless solution. According to Bitly, there has been a 750% increase in QR Code downloads since the start of the pandemic. This mobile-first technology minimizes contact and aligns with covid safety measures. You can see them everywhere—from billboards, posters and flyers to food packaging, business cards, restaurants, etc. Brands are leveraging QR Codes in a myriad of ways to share valuable information about business innovation while delivering a compelling augmented reality experience.

With a sustained spike in the use of smartphones and enhanced access to internet connections, making payments through a QR code has become a massive hit among consumers everywhere. According to Juniper Research, 1 billion smartphones will access QR Codes by 2022 and a whopping 5.3 billion QR Code coupons will be redeemed by customers worldwide. This is a 300% increase in usage from the initial estimates of 2017. The UPI-enabled ‘Scan and Pay’ allows consumers to make payments ‘on the go’—whether they are shopping, watching movies, traveling or hanging out with friends at a restaurant. Let’s get to know how the QR code works.

QR stands for Quick Response code which is essentially a two-dimensional barcode, with information encrypted in an encoded format. They can either be static or dynamic in design. The information in static QR codes is fixed and cannot be altered. A typical example could be a restaurant displaying a QR code on a table card that links customers to their menu. Alternatively, a dynamic QR code can be edited and customized for each specific user such as a customer’s bill at check-out.

QR codes can be accessed and scanned through smartphones at merchant facilities to make seamless, quick and safe payments. Businesses and consumers have just started to realize the unlimited potential and functionality that QR codes offer and the tech world is convinced that the QR codes are here to stay. And just as other payments industry players, banks should jump on the QR code wagon quickly and delve into this fast-rising payments initiative.

Connect Phygital experiences for your customers using QR Codes

Instant gratification drives consumer decisions. Today, the desire for immediately delivered services is a prerequisite for customers while choosing banking services. This is evident from the consumer stats reflecting an increased usage in mobile banking and chatbot services while completely replacing the need for physical branches. According to research conducted by Ipsos-Forbes in 2021, 76% of Americans stated that they switched to their bank’s app over the last year for banking tasks such as viewing account balances or depositing a cheque.[3] However, with the pandemic accelerating contactless payment usage, banks should enhance their apps to become much more than just being an alternative to everyday banking. As QR codes become ubiquitous, banks need to develop an evolved sense of leveraging this unique technology to offer customers a constant stream of useful new features.

Banks can use QR codes at various touchpoints to augment customer experience and amplify brand advocacy. They can be leveraged to promote app downloads, receive customer feedback, ramp up marketing campaigns, and provide frictionless banking which is—easy, secure and convenient. QR codes can play a major role as banks step into the next phase of digitization where banks can generate personalized QR codes to cater to the specific needs of a customer, thereby creating more immersive customer interactions.

QR codes offer limitless potential for the banking industry. However, its success will depend on how banks integrate QR codes into their existing digital banking application to build a truly touchless experience driven by customer innovation.


Padmanabhan R

Career Banker, Galleried Photographer and Travel Columnist. Also develop banking applications in free time. Finished my CA and have done my tour of duty with organizations like Times Group, ICICI Bank and Yes Bank, before landing up in Clayfin to create digital banking channel solutions.

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