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Benefits of contactless payments & QR codes

Editorial Team

4 min read
Person scanning a QR code with a smart phone

Quick Response (QR) codes and contactless payments are now permanent features of modern life. Both technologies were invented decades ago, enjoying countless applications across manufacturing and transportation due to their ease and flexibility. It is only in recent years that QR codes and contactless payments started seeping into the consumer world, with widespread adoption helped by social distancing concerns brought on by COVID-19.


This article explores some of the benefits of contactless payments and QR codes. It also explains how a pandemic helped make both technologies truly mainstream.

What are QR codes and contactless payments?

Invented in 1994, Quick Response codes are a type of two-dimensional barcode that can store a lot more information than their striped counterparts. Due to their large storage capacity and easy readability, QR codes quickly became the preferred standard for the automotive and shipping industries. You’ve probably seen them more recently at restaurant tables or on movie posters. Scanning these codes with a smartphone or tablet allows you to do everything from visit websites to play games to read interactive restaurant menus.

Invented in 1995, contactless payments are a slightly newer technology that allows a user’s payment device to wirelessly communicate with a point of sale (POS) terminal – rather than having to make direct physical contact.

What are the benefits of QR codes and contactless payments?

In the age of information, the ability to quickly send and receive data is paramount. This is certainly true when transmitting information over vast distances (which is why businesses and consumers alike invest in high-speed Internet). Even when senders and receivers are face-to-face, speed counts.

This has been the main driving force behind the rise of QR codes and contactless payments over the years. QR codes are easy to create, share, and scan. Contactless payments are often much faster than payments made with cash or magstripe cards. This is because one only needs to wave his or her contactless credit card or mobile wallet across a POS machine rather than having to dip, swipe, or tap. Better still, contactless payments don’t typically require PIN codes or signatures – both of which would introduce unnecessary “contact” into the equation.

It’s difficult to overstate the benefits of QR code payments.

As a consumer, they lead to shorter overall lines. This fact alone can help improve the user experience, thus, incentivizing that customer to return for futurepurchases. Add to this, the fact that users don’t have to go through extra hurdles such as signature verification or printed receipts. Shopping this way is simply more convenient. It’s also more secure, since users don’t have to worry about prying eyes getting a glance at sensitive information (such as PIN numbers).

As a business owner, this means happier customers and more sales per unit of time. Not surprisingly, many retail stores had already started making the switch to contactless payments even before COVID-19.

When the pandemic did strike, however, consumers and businesses alike had a new reason to embrace the trend – i.e., contactless payment safety:

  • While in the store, users can scan QR codes to download product information – without ever picking up the product.
  • During checkout, customers can scan their items and initiate payment without having to touch any POS hardware.
  • In the restaurant, guests can download that day’s menu to their smartphones using the QR code at the table.
  • At the curb, customers can pick up their restaurant meals and pay for their orders without getting out of their cars.

In fact, both technologies can now be combined so that ordering, invoicing, and payments can all be done with a QR code set up with “scan to order” capabilities.

Need help setting up QR code payments for your business?

If you currently use any Clover POS device, you’re already set up for contactless payments. We have a Contactless Payments feature that will allow you to integrate QR codes into your growing business – whether you manage a restaurant, own a retail store, or offer specialized services.

If you’re not currently a Clover customer, let us help you choose a POS system that can make the entire shopping experience easier, faster, and more secure for your customers and team members alike. To get started, schedule a free demo with a Clover Specialist today.

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