Here's why QR codes are the future of payments

January 11, 2021

As the country enters another lockdown, small businesses are once again having to find ways to adapt to the escalating situation.

Restaurants, contractors and salons have all had to reassess the situation and commit to making long term changes, rather than just weathering the storm. One of the most notable changes is the way we accept payments. With the new Covid-19 strand rapidly spreading across the world, customers and businesses have been forced away from contagious cash and towards something more modern: mobile payments and contactless cards. One of the best modern payment solutions happens to involve QR codes… 👇

What is so special about QR codes?

Quick Response (QR) codes are a barcode-like image that passes information from one device to another. They’ve been around since the 1960s and were first developed in Japan. In the early 2010s, they took off in countries like China, where most of the population pays for products and services with QR codes.

QR codes make payments easy and smooth. You’ve likely seen them already in restaurants, bars and shops in order to complete the NHS track and trace form or to view an online menu. However, the real power of the QR code is in the payment process, not just the menu. Here’s what paying with a QR code looks like:

  1. As a merchant, your menu is turned into a QR code (a simple website or Pomelo Pay automatically does this for you - all you need is a link). You display the QR code on a table or at the front of the shop.
  2. Your customer scans the code with their smartphone - every modern smartphone has an in-built QR code scanner within the camera app
  3. The customer is immediately directed towards a digital menu where they pick what to eat, order and pay with their phone.
  4. You receive the order and payment on your device and can immediately start preparing the meal.

This type of mobile payment makes payments efficient, safe and highly secure. And thanks to lockdown, it seems that QR codes are here to stay. Let’s look into more detail as to why this is the case:

Why QR codes are the future

QR codes help solve quite a few key problems, and will be the primary method of payment throughout lockdown - and probably even after.

Social distancing

One of the main advantages of the QR code is that it allows you to take payments while remaining at a safe 2 metres. The only other way to do this is by using two separate card machines that are connected - one for your input and one for the customer. This is expensive and can be buggy if the internet connection is unstable.

As a merchant, you can display your QR code at the front of your stall and allow customers to safely pay from a distance. As a contractor, you don’t have to come too close to your client. QR codes can also be printed and displayed anywhere, so you can have several of them displayed across your shop and only pay the price of sheets of paper. On the customer side, all they need is a modern smartphone and a credit card which they can input their details with. This allows them to safely pay for their order without the need to touch buttons, a card machine or even enter the establishment.

See how one of Pomelo Pay’s customers, Phoreal, displays its QR code:

Fast and efficient

In today’s world of tight budgets and regular lockdowns, restaurants, contractors and customer-facing businesses need solutions that work quickly and efficiently. This allows businesses to maximise revenue, keep expenses low and produce satisfied customers.

QR codes enable restaurants to work a lot more efficiently: customers no longer have to wait in queues, fumble around for change or even talk to the server. For contractors, you no longer need to wait to get home to send an invoice or force your client to head to the ATM; it’s all immediate and incredibly fast. If there’s a word to describe it, it’s convenience.

Click and collect

With regular local lockdowns, restaurants and sit-in businesses cannot rely on in-person customers to maintain business. They must adapt. And one good way of doing so is with click and collect. This allows customers to order and pay online, and then collect their order in person during a specific timeslot.

With a Pomelo Pay feature like click and collect, your QR code menu transforms into an online ordering system which allows you to serve customers without requiring a physical presence. It also reduces physical contact and therefore increases safety between businesses and customers. Pomelo Pay customers have reported a 10% increase in revenue thanks to the benefits that come with QR codes.


“Who is storing my data?”

“Are my credit card details being stored?”

Customers are more aware of privacy and data than ever before, and for a good reason: with everything being digital, we want to make sure none of it is accessible to the wrong people.

The good news is that QR codes are one of the most secure payment methods - even more than credit or debit cards. That’s because by using a secure payment link through a QR code, no payment details are stored on file. Not only that is the information safe, but every transaction is tokenised - which means every transaction creates a unique code that cannot be replicated. You can put your customers at ease by letting them know that by purchasing with you, their personal information is safe.

Customer relationship building

One large benefit of going digital is that it allows businesses to learn more about their customers’ habits. As a merchant, you find out interesting pieces of information such as who your most loyal customers are, what your most popular dish is and what time people like to order. Tracking those details means you can encourage certain behaviours and create more loyal customers through reward schemes, promotions and giveaways.

You can take this to another level by offering an omnichannel experience. For example, those who order online can also opt to join a mailing list with exclusive offers. Or those who post pictures of your dish on social media get to enter a competition and win a free meal. Building strong relationships with your customers means you get to grow your business through both good and bad times.

We believe that QR codes are the future and are also an essential tool for any business that wants to survive and grow throughout lockdown. Businesses who are implementing QR codes no longer have to fear the impact of lockdown or wonder how they’re going to survive the next year. A payments tool like this one allows your business to genuinely adapt to the situation.