How to Make a Payment Using a QR Code

As digital payment methods become more and more popular, the options for making payments with your phone continue to expand. You may already use a digital wallet on your mobile device, and QR code payment options are starting to pop up in many different retail locations. With a QR code payment, you simply scan the code provided by the retailer and complete the payment on your phone. This is a contactless form of payment that allows you to make purchases without using cash or a physical card.

When Would I Use a QR Code to Make a Payment?

You can use a QR code payment anytime you would like to avoid using cash or a card to pay what you owe. Of course, QR code payment needs to be one of the payment options presented to you by a retailer, so be sure to ask if you would like to pay in this manner. This is a feature that is available in more and more places, but it is not offered in all businesses. If you know how to make this type of payment and you have some payment methods saved on your phone in advance, you’ll have no trouble using this option when it is available.

Steps to Make a QR Code Payment

The first step in making a QR code payment is to confirm that the retailer you are buying from offers this mode of payment. There may be a sign somewhere near the register indicating that QR code payments can be used, or you could simply ask. If QR code payments are available, the purchase process should follow the general outline below. It’s important to note that this process may vary slightly depending on the payment processing company that is being used by the retailer. 

  1. Start by opening the camera app on your mobile device
  2. Using the camera, scan the QR code that has been presented to you. This code will likely be displayed on a screen that is either resting on the counter or mounted on the register
  3. When the scan is completed, your mobile device will be directed to a payment page where you can complete the purchase
  4. Follow the directions on this page to finish up. You might enter card information on this page, or you may wish to use a payment method that you have already set up on your phone, like Apple Pay or Google Pay. 

There is no reason to be intimidated by the prospect of making your first QR code payment. The process is designed to be user-friendly and approachable, so anyone who uses a smartphone regularly should have no trouble. If you do get confused or have a question at any point, just ask the salesperson for assistance.

Industries That Could Use QR Code Payment for Their Business

QR code payments can be an effective tool for nearly any type of business that accepts in-person payments. There are significant costs associated with handling cash payments, and card payments can be a hassle and may come with high processing fees. Taking QR code payments is not only convenient for the business, but it is also another way to make life easier for the customer — and that is something that every business strives to achieve. 

While there are few limitations on what kinds of businesses can use QR code payments, here are a few industries where they are regularly seen:

  • Foodservice. Various types of restaurants and other establishments that serve food can leverage QR code payments to streamline the checkout process. This is particularly useful for quick-service locations that want to avoid a bottleneck at the register. The speed of QR payments is an advantage in this application, and regular customers who come back day after day may get into the habit of using this simple payment method. 
  • Parking facilities. Again, it’s the convenience and speed of these kinds of payments that make them a great fit for the parking industry. Parking garages and similar facilities want to avoid traffic backups while collecting payments, so touchless mobile payments represent a major upgrade in the system. 

Mobile businesses. There are more and more businesses that operate without a permanent physical location to call home. These kinds of vendors can generate a QR payment code on their mobile device, which can then be scanned by the mobile device of the customer. This makes it far more practical to collect payments on the go, and the customer doesn’t even need to have a physical credit card available (as long as they have mobile payment information in place on their phone).

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to make a QR code payment?

QR code payments should be considered safe as long as you trust the merchant that is processing the transaction. When you scan a QR code, you’ll be taken to a payment page that is hosted by the payment processing company used by the retailer. Often, these will be some of the biggest names in the payments business, such as Square or PayPal. As long as you trust the merchant being used for the payment, QR codes should be seen as a secure and convenient way to pay your bill.

Are QR code payments better than other digital payment methods?

All digital payment methods can be effective, and your choice will probably come down to which methods are offered by a particular retailer. You may find that some retail locations offer many different digital payment forms, while some just offer one or two (or none at all). You can always ask about using a QR code for payment, but the merchant may not have that available for your transaction.

Does it take a long time to make a QR code payment?

No! In fact, speed is one of the biggest benefits of using this form of payment. Once you scan the right code, you can quickly complete the payment process on your phone and be on your way. The speed of this transaction is convenient for both the merchant and the customer, which is why this form of payment is gaining traction as an effective way to complete a sale.

Is any special software required to make QR code payments?

You should have no trouble making QR code payments with any current iPhone or Android device. Both iOS and Android have the built-in capability to scan QR codes using the device’s camera. Once you scan the code provided for your payment, you’ll be taken to a screen to complete the transaction. It’s not necessary to download any specific apps or tools to use this method of payment.