What is a 'Quick Response (QR) Code'

A Quick Response (QR) Code is a type of barcode which can be read by a digital device and which stores information. A quick response code, also called a QR code, is most frequently used to track information about products, and is often frequently used in marketing and advertising campaigns. QR codes consist of black squares arranged in a grid (matrix) on a white background. QR code readers can extract data from the patterns that are present in the QR code matrix. QR codes are considered an advancement from older, two-dimensional barcodes.

Breaking Down 'Quick Response (QR) Code'

QR codes are able to contain more information than traditional barcodes, and primarily handle four modes of data: alphanumeric, numeric, binary, and Kanji. Despite the increased data capacity, QR codes have not been as popular with consumers as expected. Rather than being created by consumers to share information, they are most commonly associated with advertisers and marketing campaigns.

Quick Response (QR) Code vs. Barcodes

The amount of information that can be conveyed about a product or service was traditionally limited by the amount of space on the product’s packaging or the advertisement touting its benefits. If a consumer wanted more information about the product – availability, price, attributes – they would have to find a salesperson or request additional documentation.

Barcodes convey data using a combination of various widths of parallel lines and are commonly found on the back of product packages. The lines can be read by machines that have an optical scanner, and revolutionized the way that companies managed inventories and pricing. The barcode was first put to practical use in the 1960s by U.S. railroads to track equipment and containers. Traditional, two-dimensional barcodes came into common use in U.S. retail stores in 1974. Barcodes are now found on everything from employee ID badges and hospital bracelets to shipping containers.

Quick Response (QR) Code History

QR codes were developed in the 1990s as a way to provide more information than a standard barcode. They were invented by Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota, as a way to track automobiles throughout the manufacturing process. Unlike barcodes, which require a beam of light to bounce off of the parallel lines, QR codes can be digitally scanned by devices like mobile phones. They can be generated and read through specialized software.

Quick Response (QR) Code Types

There are a number of QR code types that may be used for different items. For example:

  • Micro QR Code: A smaller version of a traditional QR code used when space is limited. Micro QR codes can vary in size.
  • IQR Code: Can be created in squares or rectangles to be used in where space of shape is an issue. Can be in any one of 61 formats.
  • SQRC: Features a restricted reading function to contain private information.
  • Frame QR: Customizable frame that can contain graphics, illustrations or photos.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Barcode

    A barcode is an image consisting of a series of parallel black ...
  2. Code of Ethics

    A code of ethics is a guide of principles designed to help professionals ...
  3. Open Source

    Open source refers to a program with source code that can be ...
  4. North American Industry Classification ...

    The North American Industry Classification System is a business-classification ...
  5. Stock Exchange Daily Official List ...

    The stock exchange daily official list is a 7-character ID code ...
  6. Tax Avoidance

    Tax avoidance is the use of legal methods to modify an individual's ...
Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    How Much You Could Earn After Code School Boot Camp

    How much could you earn after computer code boot camp? Maybe north of $50k. But choose carefully.
  2. Tech

    How To Give Bitcoin As A Christmas Gift

    What other gift is both an investment and also a medium of exchange?
  3. Trading

    NYSE Suspends Trading on Amazon, Google Over Data Glitch

    The NYSE suspended trading on five symbols, including Amazon and Google, due to a price scale coding issue.
  4. Tech

    What Is Cold Storage For Bitcoin And Why Does It Matter?

    With increasing incidents of hacking in the world of digital currency, cold storage offers a safe place for the cryptocurrency owners.
  5. Managing Wealth

    The 10 Most Expensive ZIP Codes in Chicago

    Chicago is home to some of the most glamorous neighborhoods in the United States. Here are the 10 most expensive ZIP codes in the Windy City.
  6. Trading

    Trading Systems Coding

    Automate your trades by translating your strategy into a language your computer can implement in this hands-free approach to investing.
  7. Managing Wealth

    The 10 Most Expensive ZIP Codes in Los Angeles

    The top 10 most expensive ZIP codes in Los Angeles have median home prices ranging from about $3.1 to $5.1 million. What you get for that price varies a lot.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Where do deferred tax liabilities come from?

    Learn about the basic features of deferred tax liabilities, how they originate and why a company might create deferred tax ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center