Can QR technology continue to change our digital lives after COVID?

By Matt Barr

“QR codes – those curious patterned diagrams we hover over at the front of shops – are here to stay in Australia but they are about to get a whole lot more interesting.”

The whirlwind adoption of QR technology by Australians during the COVID pandemic has been extraordinary to witness. But we are only beginning to understand the benefits these curious patterned diagrams can bring to our digital lives.

In a post-pandemic world, there is no doubt that QR codes are here to stay. Yet the roles they play will rapidly diversify, particularly when it comes to the way we pay for things – and how we interact with businesses and retailers.

Amid COVID restrictions it’s been a rare exception to see someone signing-in to a supermarket or doctor’s surgery by hand, usually because they don’t have a smartphone. 

That’s because Australians overwhelmingly understand and accept that QR codes make the an otherwise clunky process far quicker, easier and safer.  

The convenience (or great lessening of inconvenience) for consumers, retailers, health authorities and contact tracers of QR shows how quickly we can innovate when pushed.

This said, it’s arguable QR in this context has become life-saving technology thanks to its ability to leapfrog hurdles and bypass bottlenecks. 

So extending the benefits of QR to other aspects of our lives appears both a natural and logical progression, and it is likely to happen at pace.

At eftpos, we were well advanced in planning a QR payments solution for Australians before COVID hit in early 2020.

We had been watching the way the technology was being used in places like Scandinavia and Asia, and understood how it could be adapted and enhanced for the Australian environment to solve very real problems for both consumers and merchants by making things easier and more secure. 

We have now built a payments platform, called eQR, that can provide Australians with deeper payments experiences, with additional layers of security, all while combining complex value-adds like loyalty, offers and digital receipts all within in a simple transaction.  

This, in itself, is a radical step shift to the efficiency and productivity of how we do business. But eQR offers a lot more. 

It operates across multiple platforms – online, mobile or at the checkout – and has the potential to support any payment type, such as credit cards, BNPL and account-to-account payments.

This is possible because QR codes are designed to enable data to be processed quickly, making them a perfect platform to solve complex problems.

QR technology has advanced greatly since it was first developed in Japan in the mid-1990s.  New ‘short-form’ payments, like eQR, are much faster and more efficient. As such, they offer a better experience. In the COVID-resilient world, businesses need new digital innovations to both improve efficiency and create better customer experiences beyond payments, and eQR provides just that. 

Imagine the productivity and lifestyle benefits that could flow from linking eQR with other game-changing technologies, like digital identity or a mobile wallet like Beem It. The possibilities abound.

eQR already has support from the nation’s most iconic banks, retailers and FinTechs  – Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Coles, Woolworths, Azupay , Beem It and Merchant Warrior all understand its benefits and potential to change our lives. 

eQR will rollout with some small merchants before Christmas, with many more to following in 2022.

I’m sure eQR will be just one of many QR based innovations that will continue to change our digital lives in Australia.  I for one am looking forward to seeing more of those curious patterned diagrams and experiencing just how much they have to offer us.