11 Common Myths about QR Codes

Mar 16, 2021
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One can find QR codes everywhere these days: on product packaging, in printed ads in newspapers and magazines, on billboards, posters or engraved on buildings’ signs, as well as on vehicles, business cards, events’ merchandise, fashion, art galleries, you name it! QR codes are on the unstoppable rise and are now used by businesses in most industries and are printed on all sorts of materials. Despite the insanely rapid growth of QR code adoption, they are still often misused and misunderstood. 

Let's get rid of some of the uncertainty people face when making and scanning QR codes. Knowing the myths of this simple technology will get you on the fast track to measurable success and easy-to-use scanning for your customers. We will share with you the 11 most common myths about QR codes to debunk common misconceptions around a powerful technology that has great potential to help businesses achieve their marketing and commercial goals. 

Myth #1 - QR codes can only encode a web address

URL QR codes are indeed amongst the most used QR codes out there. They are easy to use and can be linked to any website, web page, and even documents stored online within seconds. Apart from URL QR codes, there are many other types of codes that are used for various purposes. Here are some other types of QR codes you might not have heard of and ideas for their application in practice: 

  • Social Media QR code - think of this QR code as your business card with all your social media accounts in one place. It is great for driving more followers to your social profiles, increasing customer interaction and raising your brand awareness. Building a brand with strong social media recognition is also effectively achieved with social media QR codes. 
  • Feedback QR code - these QR codes take customers to a custom-made feedback form where one can rate the products and services provided by the company, leave comments and suggestions, answer questions and leave their contact details if necessary. Such QR codes are fantastic for getting customer feedback to improve products and services and boost customer satisfaction and loyalty. 
  • vCard QR codes - these are unique innovative business cards that make it easier to connect and save contacts with one scan. By scanning a vCard, one automatically receives and saves contact information in the digital device. vCard QR codes make networking easier and ensure that no mistake is made when saving new contacts. 
  • Email QR codes - these QR codes take customers directly to the email app where one can already find a prewritten email together with already types in email address and the subject of the email. Email QR codes are the most effective way for customers to require information about products or services, asking common questions or reporting on faults and issues. 
  • SMS QR codes - these are similar to Email QR codes but used in the SMS form. Just like email QR codes, SMS QRs have prewritten text and a number of the receiver saved encoded in the QR code. These codes do not require wifi or internet connection and are perfect for people requiring further information about products, businesses or reporting issues. 
  • Plain Text QR codes - these are static codes which means that it is not possible to edit or change the content behind the code after the QR code is generated. Plain text QR codes are useful for sharing non-changeable information like timetables and opening hours.
  • Bulk QR codes - these are unique QR codes that can be created in bulk with ease through a file upload or API, while retaining full control over the design and content of every code. The Supercode Bulk QR code generator supports static, dynamic, and single-use codes and ensures an unlimited number of scans for each of the codes. Learn more about what bulk QR codes are here. 

Myth #2 - It’s easy to damage a QR code

QR codes incorporate error-correction technology which means that minor defects can be easily ignored. In fact, up to 30% of the code can be scratched, obscured or damaged and the code will still be scannable. 

Myth #3 - All QR codes look the same and are boring

QR codes absolutely do not have to be all black-and-white, look the same, or have boring designs. Instead creative, custom-made QR codes are great for brand recognition and can rapidly spike brand awareness. Supercode's custom design tool allows users to incorporate branded colours, logos, fun emojis, add personalised text, and choose amongst different QR code shapes. Create an eye-catching design and make a QR code outstanding to attract people's attention and increase the number of scans. 

supercode qr code design tool software screenshot

Myth #4 - QR codes can be “hijacked”

QR codes are very safe and are extremely unlikely to be hijacked to be redirected into a pirate site. The structural technology also contributes to the unlikelihood of a customised QR code accidentally being directed to an unintended destination. Although dynamic QR codes can be edited by those who created the code initially, it is impossible for people who do not have access to the QR code generator software (or know which software you used) to steal the code and change the content behind it. 

Myth #5 - It’s impossible to create unique QR codes in bulk 

Generating unique codes one-by-one can be challenging if a business requires hundreds of them. Many businesses give up the idea as it seems very costly and time-consuming. With Supercode Bulk QR code generator, hundreds of individual QR codes can be created with a single excel file upload or API. Follow these 5 simple steps to create your codes in bulk. 

black and white bulk qr codes printed on cubes
Image source: Canva

Myth #6 - QR codes can be inverted

No, QR codes cannot be inverted, mirrored, flipped or rotated to be used for a different purpose other than what it was initially created for. QR codes also cannot be abused or transposed since every code is unique and consists of different combinations of individual elements. 

Myth #7 - Visual recognition will overtake QR codes 

Visual recognition is considered to be impractical and is highly expensive. It also requires character differentiation, centralised infrastructure and high computing power. When compared to QR codes that are easy to read, visual recognition lags behind as it is challenging for computers to differentiate between characters like 0 and O and 1 and I!I or |. 

Myth #8 - There is a limited number of QR codes that can be created 

Many are worried that we will soon run out of QR codes. In practice, it is unlikely because the number of QR codes that can be generated is even larger than there are atoms in the universe. 
According to Wikipedia, the maximum capacity for a standard QR code is 2,953 bytes or 23,624 bits. Each bit has two states, so the number of possible permutations is 2^23624 or about 3.4*10^7111.

maximum character storage capacity of QR codes table screenshot from Wikipedia
Image source: Wikipedia

Myth #9 - No one is scanning QR codes as they are insecure

According to Statista research from September 2020, 46.75% of participants in the UK and US agreed on an increase in QR Code usage. When asked about the most secure location for scanning QR codes, 45.5% voted for a retailer (supermarket, mall, electronic store), 42.5 % answered that they felt scanning QR codes was secure at a restaurant, bar, or cafe. 32.7% of participants believe it is secure to scan QR codes at financial institutions, such as banks and ATM machines. 

Myth #10 - QR codes are the latest fad and aren't sticking around

No doubt there is a craze for QR codes in the marketing world and many businesses overuse QR codes without integrating them into digital campaigns strategically.

There are a few reasons why QR codes are staying for good:

1. QR codes are an effective data entry device that can store a lot of data in a very secure way. 

2. The mobile phone integration is very high and every mobile phone camera is practically a QR code scanner now. That makes QR codes one of the most efficient marketing tools to share digital content. 

3. QR codes are not used for marketing purposes only. QR codes are used for easy, contactless and secure payments, authentication for products, for AR and VR experiences in the entertainment and fashion industries, and QR codes are great enablers for business transparency across various industries.

Myth #11 - QR codes are not as efficient as NFC

Near Field Communication (NFC) has been around for a decade but has not yet become as popular and widely used to be seen as direct competition for QR codes. When it comes to practicality, QR codes win. Almost every phone with a camera can easily scan a QR code for free while there are no NFC handsets on the market that one would need to buy to use on NFC technology. QR codes are also cheap to generate and print, while NFC tags are expensive and not so easy to create in seconds online. 

Since it is so quick and easy to generate QR codes, many entrepreneurs and businesses don’t know how to make the most out of the effective and powerful digital campaigns that can be created with QR codes when used correctly. The myths mentioned above originate from rumors about QR code technology that has great potential to thrive and find innovative applications in many industries. 

Sign up to Supercode to create your first QR code and become a part of the QR code revolution.

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