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The Future of QR Codes: What Retailers Need to Know

Over 1 billion mobile QR code coupons are estimated to have been redeemed as of two years ago. By 2022, 1.3 billion is expected to rise to 5.3 billion. Technology giants such as Apple, who have created built-in QR code capabilities, are making the use of QR codes even easier. With the steady increase and acceptance of the code, it’s easy to believe in the benefits. But, do QR codes truly belong in retail? The answer lies in their safety.

Are QR Code Payment Methods Safe?

Criminals looking for data or cash to steal will try any form of technology they can get their hands on, including the QR code. After scanning a QR code, malware could find its way onto a consumer’s device. Or, consumers may find themselves directed to a phishing website, a place for criminals to extract their personal information. These aren’t the only threats that may lurk behind the code.

In Guangzhou, China, about 90 million yuan or $14.5 million has reportedly been stolen in the past through the use of fraudulent QR codes. How? Some fraudulent activity includes copying another user’s QR code to make payments with their account. Or taking screenshots of past payment confirmations to fool businesses during checkout.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to verify a genuine QR code with an untrained eye, making fraudulent codes simple to create. Currently, over 23% of trojans and viruses are transmitted via QR codes in China alone. To help soften the blow, China has had to implement regulations over QR-code-based payments. In April of 2018, China set a hard limit of Rmb500 or $76.52 per person, per day. And the fraud issues associated with QR codes isn’t just limited to China, but its massive scale makes it a focal point. Luckily, there are alternatives that are seamless and, most importantly, safe.

The QR Code Alternative Retailers Can Rely on

As technology companies have worked hard to adapt to the code, the QR code itself remains in the past, bringing unnecessary fraud and security complications to millions of devices. In addition, they require an internet connection, making it a payment solution that won’t fit a number of use cases. Ultrasonic technology is a QR code alternative that retailers can’t afford to overlook.

Through the use of data-over-audio, retailers can accept payments through soundwaves simply and securely. With sound, there’s no new hardware required, no third-party payment methods, and no missing pieces within the customer experience—three things that the QR code simply can’t provide. Ultrasonic brings in the benefit of distance to transactions, which opens up payment scenarios that the other methods can’t duplicate. Not to mention, it is much more than a payment tool, as it includes the ability to help with loyalty, check-ins, and more.

Mobile wallets are changing the future of retail because merchants recognize the massive potential of retail apps. They are creating an integrated suite of retail services from personalized promotions to loyalty programs to payments, and beyond. This unified customer experience is highly relevant to the customer, as they have opted-in to providing merchants insights into their online and offline activities. To make the most out of this information, retailers must operate within a connected ecosystem to fully understand and act on the customer’s intent during those micro-moments.

Want to learn more about using ultrasonic technology in place of QR codes? Get the full eBook here.

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