Although the concept of using QR codes is not entirely new, established financial institutions and Fintech players are exploring what this technology can do for the payments industry. ING Bank in The Netherlands has enabled a feature for users to send in-app payments through these QR codes. One step forward, or two steps backward?
Sending Money With QR Codes On Mobile
Most people will remember the first few times saw a QR code and wondered what the heck these black-and-white squares meant. On event posters, for example, the embedded QR code would redirect users to the website or platform to buy tickets from, after they scanned the image with their smartphone.
Despite the innovation this technology seemed to hold, QR codes became all but obsolete rather quickly, as there was no general appeal to use them. But that situation is about to change very soon, as ING Bank is experimenting with payments via QR codes in their mobile application.
The concept of scanning a QR code is rather simple, although users with older smartphones might need to install a separate — free — application to read the image correctly. Simply point the device’s camera at the code, let it scan, and the information will populate on-screen in a few seconds. Sounds simple enough on paper, but it can be quite the struggle in real-life scenarios.
One thing to take into consideration is how not every smartphone’s camera quality of up to par, which can make it rather difficult to scan a QR code. Moreover, the screen brightness settings of the device displaying the QR codes to scan could cause some problems as well, as too “light” or too “dark” settings will make the code illegible.
Despite all of that, ING Bank still feels these QR codes hold a lot of merit for making mobile payments. Granted, such a feature might prove to be convenient when sending payments to family or friends. But when it comes to commerce, the story might be quite different as consumers want frictionless payments payment options above anything else. Unfortunately for QR code technology, frictionless is not a word that comes to mind when dealing with this concept.
That being said, the concept of making payments with a QR code is not entirely new either. Bitcoin, the world’s leading digital currency, offers QR code payment support one very mobile wallet solution for several years now. All brick-and-mortar retailers accepting Bitcoin payments do so through this technology, and they have been quite successful with it so far.
Source: Tweakers (Dutch)
Header image courtesy of Archinect