Like RFID in the late 90s, QR code technology has rapidly become very popular over the last decade. Everywhere we look, there are QR codes waiting anxiously to be scanned by our smartphones. This is not surprising considering the benefits that QR code technology has to offer. Here are the top 4 reasons why QR codes are better than RFID.

1. Very obvious where a QR code is present

No one can ever complain that they were unable to find a QR code. The square code is distinct and easily visible on any surface that it is printed on. As a result, people do not have to be notified separately about the existence of a QR code; they can see it with their own eyes. However, the same is not true for RFID. People have to be notified that a device is RFID capable or contains a transmitting RFID chip. This is the main reason why QR codes are preferred over RFIDs, except maybe for the espionage sector. If you are not James Bond, you are better off dealing with QR codes.

QR Codes

2. Easier and cheaper to get QR codes out here

It is a substantially cheaper and easier to get QR codes out to the public. For RFID, special RFID chips have to be deployed that transmit the relevant code. By contrast, all one has to do with a QR code is simply have it printed out on any surface that they wish. Even generating a QR code is a lot cheaper and is relatively hassle-free; one can generate a QR code on their smartphones. This is a far cry from the amount of effort and the high cost that goes into generating RFID tags. For most small and medium sized businesses, QR codes are a much more financially viable option.

3. RFID requires specialized equipment

One of the things that make a real difference is the kind of equipment required by the end user in order to decode information. For RFID, this usually involves an expensive piece of scanning equipment that is designed to do one job only – scan and decode RFID tags. Comparatively, all one needs to scan a QR code is a smartphone. All smartphones can be equipped with a variety of QR code reading and generating apps, irrespective of which operating system they use. This makes QR codes a lot more accessible and is the main reason why marketing campaigns make use of QR codes.

4. QR codes are web oriented and more flexible

The sad truth about RFID is that you need a database for the technology to be really effective. Without a proper database, there is nothing for RFID scanners to decode, even if they have detected a RFID transmitting chip. A custom QR code does not need access to any database in order to decode and provide the user with relevant information. QR codes are web oriented and whatever information is not stored in the code itself is often provided via web links. This makes QR codes a lot more flexible and practical than RFID.

The 4 reasons mentioned are why every business sector is trying to incorporate QR codes into every aspect of their business model and not just restrict it to marketing campaigns.

This article is authored by Mathew Ronalds, a tech enthusiast and blogger.

  • What is this mumbo-jumbo about RFID-s needing a _database_ to be effective? Just like any other information transmitting technology, RFID (and QR codes, barcodes and whatever) basically relay binary information, of course, dependent on standards and generally accepted encodings. There are no tasks that can’t be achieved via RFID among those QR codes are capable of, and that is essentially by design. RFID being developed in the early days as a replacement for barcodes, which themselves are the predecessors of QR codes — QR codes being a generalization and expansion on the “optical machine-readable binary encoded data” concept barcodes are conceived for.

    There obviously are pros and contras regarding both technologies, one could argue about costs, convenience and a heap of other attributes, for and against each of the two technology, while even knowing the actual use case scenario would tip the balance for one or the other, but stating that one is “dependent on a database” while the other is not is plain sillyness and a bending of the facts.