11 things no one knows about QR Codes


What you should know:

You might have probably seen square-shaped black-and-white barcodes on newspaper ads and product packaging. These are called Quick Response Codes or simply QR Codes. But do you know what they are for? Have you ever scanned them?


QR Codes were developed in 1994 in Japan but are now very popular in Western countries and South-east Asia, particularly China. India is a relatively nascent market but the adoption is quickly growing.


If you are new to this technology, then you must know these 11 things about them:

1. They are much more than barcodes

QR Code were designed for a purpose – to be a replacement for barcodes in inventory management in the automobile industry. This is how they are better:


  • Unlike barcodes that can only save numeric data, QR Codes can save alphanumeric characters such as URLs, text, and contact information
  • Storage capacity of QR Codes is much higher – 7,089 numeric characters (without spaces) or 2,953 alphanumeric characters with spaces and punctuation
  • Barcodes can be scanned in one direction but QR Codes can be scanned in any orientation
  • A QR Code is much smaller in size compared to a barcode for the same amount of data

2. Not just an inventory management tool

Because of these technical advantages, QR Codes have found extensive use in not just inventory management but also in marketing, security applications, and gaming.

3. Can sustain wear and tear

QR Codes have error correction capabilities that allow it to remain scannable even if they get damaged – upto 30%.

4. Can be designed

Because of error correction, design can be introduced in the QR Code as error. This means you can easily personalize the design of a QR Code. Marketers use this feature extensively in their QR Code promotions.


5. Can track scans

Typically, QR Codes are used to redirect users to a URL. Because of this, it is easily possible to track scanning activity. Unlike barcodes that require dedicated apps, it is possible to know how many times a QR Code was scanned and from where.

6. There are hundreds of free scanning apps available

QR Codes used for consumer engagement can be scanned using your smartphone and there are hundreds of freely available applications on all major app stores.


In fact, handset providers such as Xiaomi and Motorola have built-in QR Code scanning feature in their camera application itself.

7. WhatsApp uses QR Code technology for login

You probably have WhatsApp on your phone. Did you know you could see your WhatsApp chats on your PC using Whatsapp Web? But the only way to login is to scan a QR Code using the scanner in your WhatsApp app.

whatsapp qr code

8. Add friends on Viber, Snapchat, and WeChat

Messaging applications like Viber, Snapchat and WeChat allow you to add friends by scanning their profile QR Code on the respective apps.

wechat qr code

9. Make mobile payments via Paytm, SBI

Paytm and SBI Anywhere apps now have the feature of making peer-to-peer payments via QR Codes.

10. On your Aadhaar Card

Still not sure what a QR Codes is? Just look at your Aadhaar card. This QR Code stores information such as your name, Aadhaar no., father’s name, date of birth, etc.

11. Very easy to make

Not just marketers, but you too can easily create your own QR Codes. You can put it on resume to share detailed information about your projects or put it on your business card to allow people to save your contact information.


QR Codes can easily be created using an online QR Code management tool such as Scanova.


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