Cue the Applause for the QR Code
October 13, 2021

In its latest iteration, it’s a safe and easy way to pay

The QR code has re-invented itself again. Starting out as a way to track parts at a Japanese auto plant (1) before evolving to become a novel marketing tool, it’s now a full-fledged way to make a payment.


Scan this to watch an insightful video about InComm Payments Touch Free Payments


Short for Quick Response Code, the QR code saw its value soar when it gained widespread adoption in China as a reliable way for millions of consumers to buy things. According to Kia Lee, Vice President of Strategy & Development for Alternative Payments at InComm Payments, “mobile payment technology and QR codes took off very quickly in China and other nations that did not have the financial payment infrastructure commonly found in western nations. They leapfrogged traditional payments and introduced QR codes as a way to do peer-to-peer payments and transit payments, ultimately resulting in QR codes becoming the most common way to pay for goods and services.” Then in early 2020, the QR code found itself thrust into a vital new role when COVID-19 spread across the United States. As evidenced by its success abroad as a viable way to pay, using it made perfect sense in the pandemic because it enabled contactless payments in stores and restaurants.


Key benefits of the QR code (2)

  • Stores a large volume of data
  • Encrypts payment information, safeguarding transactions
  • Scannable from a screen as well as paper
  • Readable even if part of the code is damaged


79% of consumers are now using contactless payments (3)


InComm Payments recently launched a breakthrough QR code payment solution, teaming up with CVS Pharmacy and enabling the major chain to integrate PayPal and Venmo QR code technology at checkouts at its 8,200 stores nationwide. Merchants would be wise to get onboard the contactless train as more consumers will want to pay this way. “Consumers like it because they don’t have to handle a card or touch a pay terminal,” Lee said. She added that “it’s much more secure, too. InComm Payments tokenizes the data in every QR code that a consumer uses to pay, which ensures no personally identifiable information (PII) is transmitted from user to merchant. It allows consumers to better control their payment experience.”


The QR code payment experience in four steps

Merchants have plenty to gain by supporting QR code payments, as well. The solution enables stores to accept a wider range of payment methods, better positioning them to transact with more consumers. QR code payments provide flexibility, opening up transactions with popular mobile wallet providers such as PayPal and Alipay, as well as accepting payments using digital currencies and cryptocurrency wallets. In fact, InComm Payments has partnered with Flexa, a digital currency payment solutions company, to help its retail partners accept dozens of digital currencies like bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) and more. Accepting a broader range of payment methods will help merchants gain sought-after customers, like mobile-savvy Gen Z shoppers.



What consumers say are the key benefits of paying with a QR code or barcode


Fast: 39%          Easy: 33%          Contactless: 28%

Source: InComm Payments survey: Payments Market Metrics, May 2021.


InComm Payments’ QR code solution provides merchants with unique ways to boost customer engagement, too. Through the company’s deeply integrated technology, many complex actions can be completed at the register in real-time, enabling merchants to offer data-driven, personalized offers and content directly to consumers based on their purchases. And such engagement can help drive repeat visits.


QR codes can help merchants gain a share of the surging digital wallet user audience

What consumers say are the key benefits of paying with a QR code or barcode


When checking out: 26%

In-store display: 23%

Social media: 22%

Source: InComm Payments survey: Payments Market Metrics, May 2021.


To help expand QR code payment usage, it’s important for consumers to know about this option. Lee noted that the major wallets are active in educating and incentivizing consumers. “PayPal and other wallets reach a targeted population of users with education and training via ads, in-app banners, push notifications and social media feeds. Venmo has a built-in social feed to share with others that you’ve paid with Venmo in store.”

What’s also needed to grow QR code payment usage are merchants open to promoting this method. “Simple instructions and an easy-to-use product is key, Lee said. “Sometimes just a visual cue in their store; other times, signage that provides an incentive, further encouraging desired behavior. InComm Payments can offer our expertise in retail and online marketing, awareness campaigns and in-store execution of POP materials to help drive QR code payment usage.”


The QR code versus the barcode (8)

Amid growing adoption as a way to pay, the QR code has new purpose. “It’s really the evolution of the barcode,” Lee said. “Code 128 barcodes have such limits to them. With the QR code, we’ve found a new form factor that enables us to put more information into it and expand its usability as a payment tool. We’re excited about its future.”

To learn more about InComm Payments’ alternative payments solutions, email us at