As people and businesses start shifting to digital technologies and contactless transactions, they’ll largely be presented with two options to use. One is Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, while the other is Quick Response (QR) technology. Anyone can get NFC tags or stickers for an affordable price and customise them according to their needs, but everyone can virtually benefit from QR from the get-go as long as they have a smartphone. Both NFC and QR technologies have their respective pros and cons, but it’s first important to understand what they are to have a better idea of what is better.
The Differences Between NFC and QR CodesBoth NFC and QR codes streamline access to certain websites or store certain information. The most obvious difference is how the device is triggered due to the nature of the technology. QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes, while NFC is radio-frequency technology that transmits data between an NFC tag and an NFC-enabled device. NFC tags and QR codes basically do the same things, but NFC can store more information than the codes since the tags use embedded chips. Quick Response codes are mostly used for advertising campaigns and tracking automotive parts, while Near Field Communication tags are used to process payments and for social media promotions. The two technologies have more differences that influence how people decide which technology to use. QR codes can be more useful to individuals who want to share information securely with a small number of people. In contrast, businesses might want to focus more on NFC tech for security and customizability. Of course, businesses might also want QR codes for affordability, while individuals might favour NFC stickers because they want to automate their homes.
Comparing NFC Tags and QR Codes
Anyone can generate QR codes through either QR code generation sites or by simply right-clicking on a webpage and then clicking “Create QR Code for this page.” Because of this, small businesses can easily create QR codes to advertise their website or social media pages. The only cost is printing and distribution, which will largely depend on the quantity and size of the codes. Different people can use QR codes for applications like member registrations and surveys since everyone will likely have smartphones they can use to scan the codes. NFC tags are costlier to use en masse than QR codes since the tags need to have the tags encoded. The sticker can be embedded in cards, posters, signs, and others, but this will naturally cost more than printing a QR code on bond paper. Of course, there’s also the matter of needing NFC-supported equipment to benefit from NFC tags, especially when using cards as an alternative means of payment while integrating loyalty card functions.
Anyone can make QR codes and produce them at a reasonable scale as long as they have the necessary equipment and resources to print the codes. Businesses won’t have a problem with production costs as long as they have a printer and enough bond paper, but distribution can be problematic. NFC tags, however, will cost more because of the microchips. However, individuals can get their own NFC stickers and customise them however they want, so it will only be costly to use NFC depending on the scale. Businesses that want to issue NFC business cards per employee will spend a lot more than those who want to program their own custom NFC tags for personal use due to the scale of purchase.
When using QR codes, people must use their device’s camera to capture the code and launch an app, but they must also keep the proper lighting and correct camera alignment in mind for the QR code to redirect the user. However, NFC tags only need to be tapped by NFC-enabled devices to perform its function.
More people can use QR codes since they only need to have a device with a camera to scan a QR code. On the other hand, people will need to have an NFC-supported device to use an NFC tag. This effectively makes QR codes more usable by the general public, while NFC is good for businesses securing their facilities and networks and people customising their own cards. NFC technology is also more useful when businesses encourage people to transact digitally or pay through contactless means.
NFC technology is by far more customisable than QR technology. QR codes are simple two-dimensional barcodes that can be displayed through a phone, computer screen, or piece of paper, while NFC users can benefit from custom printed NFC cards. People can program whatever they want to customise their cards better when using rewritable tags.