A range of helpful articles about NFC

With COVID ravaging most of the world in 2020 and 2021, more and more businesses are looking for ways to provide contactless payments, promotions, ordering and check-ins for their customers to help battle a virus that is transmitted through touch and fomites (objects or materials which are likely to carry infection, such as clothes, utensils, and furniture).

Before we dive into the similarities and differences between QR codes and NFC stickers, let’s better understand what these technologies are and what they aren’t. 

What are QR codes? 

qr codeThe ‘QR’ in QR codes stands for ‘quick response’, and they are a two-dimensional barcode that stores information that a smartphone can read. The technology started out storing UPC (Universal Product Code) or EPC codes (Electronic Product Code) that would store information about a particular product (very similar to a standard barcode we see on products in a shopping centre today). 

Now, however, they are being used more frequently for advertising campaigns, check-ins and promotional information. QR codes are printed codes and, once added to paper or product, can’t be changed. 

What are NFC labels?

NFC stands for Near Field Communication and is a way for your phone to interact with a label that stores a range of information from website addresses to contact details. You can even open apps or change settings on your phone (like setting your phone to silent for example).

NFC labels are used predominantly for promotional purposes and for contactless ordering at restaurants and cafes, etc. NFC labels are programmable so you’re able to download an app onto your phone that allows you to change the information that’s stored on them easily. 


What’s the cost difference between QR codes and NFC labels?

The cost for the creation of a QR code is almost negligible as almost anyone can create one with many online services offering QR code creation along with apps that will do this for you. The impact on your budget is in printing out the QR codes on posters, menus or promotional materials. It’s worth noting that if you want to change the information the QR code provides, new QR codes will need to be printed. 

NFC labels will usually end up being more expensive per unit than the creation of QR codes; however, there are cost savings that can be generated by the fact that NFC labels are programmable so you’re able to change and edit the information stored on them for the life of the label. 

What’s the difference in production for QR codes and NFC labels?

As we have previously mentioned, the production of QR codes is a relatively straightforward process and only requires a computer and a printer. Alternatively, QR codes can be incorporated into part of an overall design so the cost of producing a QR code is in the printing of your promotional materials, not the creation of the code.

NFC tags come as a complete unit with the microchip and ariel encased in a sticker. If you’re considering using NFC labels for a promotion or for online, contactless ordering you can have your NFC labels programmed or ‘source tagged’ so they arrive already programmed with the information you require on them.

What’s the difference in how customers interact with QR codes and NFC labels?

This is where NFC labels make it much easier for customer interaction. All a customer needs to do is simply tap their NFC enabled phone to the NFC label and the interaction is complete. QR codes require an app to use them and lighting issues, camera issues or alignment issues may cause problems with the QR codes being read.

Is there a security difference between QR codes and NFC labels?

Definitely! As QR codes are so easily created, it’s not unusual for scammers to place their own QR codes over existing codes, particularly if customers are required to put in personal information like email addresses or address details.

NFC labels on the other hand are harder to edit and program (as they require an app to program them) and can be locked so that further edits or changes can’t be made to them. 

What’s the main difference between QR codes and NFC labels?

The biggest difference between QR codes and NFC tags is that NFC labels are programmable meaning you’re able to change them once they’ve been applied to a poster, menu, table or promotional material. 

Hopefully this has helped you to better understand the differences between QR codes and NFC labels. If you would like to purchase NFC labels, please feel free to go to our shop.