A Beginner’s Guide: What is a QR Code?

What is a QR code? Basically, a QR code is a revolutionary technology that has shifted how we interact with physical objects. It’s a two-dimensional barcode that stores data in black-and-white modules.

With their versatile storage ability, QR codes are becoming increasingly popular for personal and business use. From marketing campaigns to ticket scanning, QR codes have become essential for businesses across all industries.

In this guide, we have compiled important information about “What is a QR code” that can help readers learn more about this powerful technology, personally and professionally. Fancy learning more? Read on!

What is a QR Code, and How Does It Work?

What is a QR Code, and How Does It Work?
What is a QR Code, and How Does It Work?

What is a QR code? In short, a QR code (Quick Response code) is a two-dimensional barcode used to store encoded information like URLs or text.

These codes are gaining popularity as a secure way to quickly access websites, store contact data, or even make payments.

Essentially, QR codes work by using a combination of patterns, including vertical and horizontal lines, dots, and special characters.

The code is scanned by a device’s camera, which uses optical character recognition technology to convert the information into digital data you can access instantly.

Once the code is scanned, the device will be directed to a specific website or page, depending on what was programmed into the QR code.

For instance, a QR code containing contact information will open up the user’s messaging app or add the contact details right to their address book.

Static vs. Dynamic QR Codes

Static vs. Dynamic QR Codes
Static vs. Dynamic QR Codes

QR codes are divided into two big categories: static and dynamic codes.

Do you want to know further about static and dynamic QR codes? While the two types of codes have similarities, they also have some essential distinctions. Check out the details!

Static QR Code

Static QR codes are designed to be used one time only. Once they’ve been scanned, they won’t work anymore.

This type of code is typically used for promotional material that needs to be updated regularly, as it can easily be generated each time with a new set of data.

You can also find this kind of code in one-time entrance events, such as in concerts, theme parks, and many more, to avoid double data.

Dynamic QR Code

On the flip hand, dynamic QR codes can be changed or edited after they’ve already been created — even after they’ve been printed.

Unlike static codes, dynamic QR codes contain a redirect URL link that can be updated anytime without creating an entirely new dynamic url QR code from scratch.

The major advantage of dynamic QR codes is their flexibility — you can repurpose them for multiple campaigns or events and seamlessly update the underlying data without generating a new code every time.

With this in mind, using a dynamic approach is often advantageous if you plan on reusing your code repeatedly.

Types of QR Codes

Types of QR Codes
Types of QR Codes

Surprisingly, there are various types of QR codes available today. From URL QR codes to MP3 codes, you can use many types of QR codes according to your needs, including:

  • URL QR code
  • Wi-Fi
  • MP3
  • Multi-URL
  • vCard
  • Social media
  • File
  • App stores
  • Email
  • Text
  • Video
  • Image Gallery
  • Coupon
  • Location
  • PDF
  • Event
  • Restaurant

What are the Different Styles of QR codes?

Different Styles of QR codes
Different Styles of QR codes

Mainly, QR codes utilize these four encoding styles: numeric, alphanumeric, binary, and kanji. Check out the details!

  • Numeric encoding 

This is composed solely of numbers 0-9 and can contain up to 7089 characters. They are the most efficient encoding of the four and are particularly well-suited to storing numerical information like tracking numbers.

  • Alphanumeric encoding

This combines letters and numbers, can store up to 4296 characters and offers a more flexible option than numeric-only codes. Thus, it’s ideal for storing general text such as names or web URLs.

  • Binary encoding

This uses a combination of zeroes and ones. It tends to be used when there’s a need for large amounts of data, such as images or audio files.

  • Kanji codes 

This has the largest capacity at 1817 characters. It often contains Japanese characters but can also be encoded in other languages, including English, Chinese and Korean.

How To Scan QR Codes on Your Android Devices

How To Scan QR Codes on Your Android Devices
How To Scan QR Codes on Your Android Devices

After learning about “What is a QR code” and the types, it’s time to get practical. Scanning a QR code on mobile devices is a piece of cake, especially on an Android device.

To scan QR codes, open the camera app and point it at the QR code. The phone should automatically recognize the code and display a notification allowing you to access its content.

If not, tap on the ‘Scan Code’ feature and hold until it recognizes the image.

Once scanned, your device will display any information encoded in the same QR code, which you can access by tapping on the notification.

What Qualities Should You Look For In a QR Code Generator?

Qualities To Look For In a QR Code Generator
Qualities To Look For In a QR Code Generator

After knowing the basics about “What is a QR code”, your next step is to look for a reliable generator, such as an online QR code generator. Here are some of the qualities to consider:

  • Security: Ensure the service is secure and your data is stored safely. To double-check the credibility, take the time to check its domain. Look for signs of an SSL certificate or other indications that the connection is secure and protected.
  • User-friendliness: The generator should be easy to use and understand, so you don’t need any prior technical knowledge.
  • Customization options: Look for a generator that offers customization options, such as size, colours, logos, and frames.
  • Industry compliance: Ensure the QR code meets your industry’s regulatory requirements (like GDPR compliance).
  • Scalability: The generator should allow you to scale up or down depending on your needs.
  • Speed: Look for fast service with minimal loading time and no unexpected lags or hiccups.

Do QR Codes Collect Personal Information and Data?

Do QR Codes Collect Personal Information and Data?
Do QR Codes Collect Personal Information and Data?

Don’t worry; QR Codes are simply linked to other information and do not collect personal data or information alone.

However, to double-protect your privacy, it is essential to read the relevant website or app’s privacy policy before scanning a QR Code. This way, you will ensure you know which data will be collected.

Are QR Codes Safe?

Are QR Codes Safe?
Are QR Codes Safe?

Generally, QR codes are safe. A QR code is simply an encrypted version of a link or other information, such as a product code, so data exchanged using them is just as safe as when exchanged on any other website.

However, it’s essential to know that spoofed, malicious QR codes can link to dangerous websites containing phishing scams or drive-by malware.

If you’re suspicious that a dodgy QR code hacked your phone, recognizing the signs of a hack and taking swift action is the best way to protect your device and data from further exploitation.

Plus, you can use caution and create strong passwords, avoid clicking on suspicious links embedded within codes, and, if possible, opt for two-factor authentication for extra peace of mind.

How Do Payment QR Codes Work?

How Do Payment QR Codes Work?
How Do Payment QR Codes Work?

Payment QR codes work by generating a unique QR code, which encodes the payment details such as the amount, currency, and merchant information.

The customer then scans the code with their smartphone camera or dedicated QR code scanner app using near-field communication (NFC) technology.

Once scanned, the payment details are transferred to the merchant’s mobile device or computer, which can process the transaction securely and quickly.

This payment system offers several advantages over traditional payments, including faster checkouts, improved security due to data encryption, reduced fraud risk, and minimal physical contact.

They also make it easier for customers who may not have access to a traditional payment method like a credit or debit card.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of information can a QR code store?

A QR code can store various information, including static text, URLs, phone numbers, product information, image, and many other data types.

Is a QR code the same as a barcode?

No, a QR code is different from a barcode. QR codes are two-dimensional images with more information and a larger capacity for data (2 Kb) compared to one-dimensional barcodes (>1 B). They can store more complex information such as URLs, text, and contact details.


After learning about “What is a QR code”, how it works, and the various types, when you see one, you can scan it with your smartphone to get more information about the product or service.

If you’re interested in utilizing QR codes for your business and getting the benefits of using QR codes in restaurants, SEO for Restaurants offers affordable and effective QR code marketing services. Contact SEO for Restaurants today to help you promote your business with QR codes.

Andrea Abbondanza

Andrea Abbondanza, born in Milan (Italy) and now a proud Australian citizen, is a passionate food lover and the dynamic CEO of Seoforestaurants.com. With his rich culinary background and deep understanding of online marketing strategies, Andrea helps restaurants and cafes around the world elevate their online presence. His journey from Italy to Australia has infused his work with a unique blend of European flair and Aussie charm, making him a go-to resource for cafes and restaurants looking to elevate their digital presence and grow their businesses.

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Seo for Restaurants is a boutique agency specialised in Google Business Management, SEO and Local SEO for restaurants and Cafes.

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Andrea Abbondanza is a passionate food lover and the CEO of Seo for Restaurants. With his rich culinary background and deep understanding of online marketing strategies, Andrea helps restaurants and cafes worldwide elevate their online presence and increase

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