Why your ecommerce shop should be using QR payments

Familie & Finanzen: So gehen Familien in Deutschland mit Geld umFamilie & Finanzen: So gehen Familien in Deutschland mit Geld um
Iryna Agieieva
Head of Product - Payments
Product leader. Data-driven and passionate about payments.

Quick response (QR) codes are mostly back – thanks to the pandemic. And what a return. No longer the cousin of the UPC or occasional cameo on a television ad, the barcode-like QR code has proliferated to restaurant menus and replaced instruction manuals.  Burger King incorporated a stylised version in a 2020 ad with rapper Lil Yachty. Amazon used them alongside their new AR app to get people making Halloween decorations with Amazon packaging. It's even possible now to have a QR code carved into your gravestone. 

More conventional use cases – concert or train tickets, billboards, experiential advertising- have become far more popular as well. According to a report released by the digital consultancy Vaimo, "relative to 2019, there is a noticeable increase across the board in consumers' desire to use QR codes. Approximately seven out of 10 Millennials and six out of 10 Gen X embrace this technology. Baby Boomers represent the highest growth segment (2.2 times) as many are engaging digitally for the first time due to the pandemic."

So QR codes are hot right now, but what does that mean for ecommerce? 

The big use case for QR codes as they relate to ecommerce is payments. 

How do QR Codes work for online payments?

European banks and payment processors like Mollie are using QR codes to validate transactions instead of a code received by text message or a different code-generating device.

The usual process is the customer inputting their information for their preferred payment method and are then presented with a QR code to validate the transaction. Scanning the code is done directly in the bank's app or with a third-party app. For example, in the Netherlands, iDEAL payments support a QR code that can be scanned using the iDEAL app or directly from the customer's banking app. The same is true for Deutsche Bank in Germany and their PhotoTAN app.

In China, where mobile payments account for more than 80% of all payments, QR codes have leapfrogged ahead of contactless payment as the preferred method. However, with its already well-developed card payment infrastructure, Europe is only just starting. 

In February, the European Payments Commission, the body responsible for regulating digital payments throughout Europe, met to discuss the standardisation of QR code payments. Currently, local solutions like Bancontact or iDEAL can only be used inside their respective countries.

Once standardised QR codes are developed, a Dutch person can use iDEAL to pay anywhere in Europe that offers QR code payment.

What is a QR code exactly?

The QR stands for quick response, and it originates in automotive manufacturing. In 1994, Denso Wave Incorporated, a Toyota supplier in Japan, created the QR code to help identify auto parts during the manufacturing process. Eventually, the idea spread outside the automotive industry, but it wasn't widely adopted because it needed a particular device to read the code.

In 2011, Apple made QR codes readable with iPhone cameras, and gradually the black-and-white squares appeared. Then Covid-19 happened, which indirectly introduced a new generation of consumers, all with QR code scanners in their pockets, to QR codes.

A QR code has room for 4,296 characters, which is enough for the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody, a website address, and then the full Figaro again.

How do I generate a QR code for my ecommerce shop?

You can choose from paid or free QR code generators if you want to generate a QR code for physical products like flyers, coupons or product labels. The combination of black and white squares stands out even if the code is small.

Generating a QR code for an ecommerce transaction is similarly easy if you use a payment processor like Mollie. The processor API generates the QR code, it's shown to the customer. Once the transaction is validated via their mobile phone, the payment status changes and the customer is redirected to the shop.

What are the security benefits of QR code payments?

Online payments are classed as Card Not Present transactions, meaning the physical card has not been swiped or tapped or validated with a PIN number at the time of purchase. 

Two useful facts:

  • In 2021, retail ecommerce transactions totalled more than €400bn, the vast majority of which were CNP.

  • In 2019, more than three-quarters of all card fraud in Europe was related to CNP.

Payment Service Directive Two (PSD2) has addressed this by requiring three points of identification. QR code payments go a step further by not requiring the customer to enter their card details on your site. Instead, they work by sending shop information (amount of purchase, name of seller) to the customer, not customer information (card details, address) to the shop.  This is good for your customer, of course, but also good for you as it relieves your business of the responsibility of dealing with sensitive data. 

Accept QR code payments effortlessly with Mollie

While QR codes can help you revolutionise your promotional efforts, offering safe, quick, and simple payment solutions to your customers through an efficient payment service provider can also help your business stand out. Mollie is one of Europe's fastest-growing payment service providers and a transactional venture pioneer. Our commitment to growth allows us to push the financial services industry forward, and our straightforward payment system helps any business succeed. Learn more about our payment solutions.

Accept QR code payments effortlessly with Mollie
Effortless online payments