NFC vs. QR codes
Among your search for a fancy new NFC business card you have probably noticed QR codes are still on the majority of them. You're probably wondering why since an NFC card transfers info wirelessly what is the point of having a QR code still? QRs are ugly and take up valuable card real estate, but they do still have a purpose.
There are many benefits to having a QR code with the addition of NFC, both work together to be able to serve your profile to the masses. We still recommend always having a QR on your card. Allow me to explain.
Apple smartphones introduced native NFC on the iPhone XR which came out in 2018. Before that iPhones never had NFC. Apple did however make older phone backwards compatible on this update, but this compatibility does not allow for native NFC which works out of the box, older users will still have to follow a few tedious steps to get it working.
Android smartphones adopted NFC in 2011 before it was cool, so it is safe to say almost all android phone have NFC technology at this point in time. However, the difference with Android is that NFC can be turned off in settings similar to bluetooth and wifi. In other words, if you encounter 100 android users a percentage of them will have NFC turned off either to save battery, as a mistake, or just because they never expect to use it. It's a small percentage but still important to note.
This is the first area where QRs will still be beneficial. Back to the situation of meeting 100 people at a trade show, let's say its a 50/50 iPhone to Android mix. Out of the 100 you will have no problem scanning NFC for at least 80 of them, but there will be some with older iPhone users (like my parents rocking an iPhone 8 still) or Android users with NFC turned off. If there is anything good that came from the Covid19 pandemic, it is that ALL smartphone manufacturers baked QR scanning into the native camera software of all smartphones. This now allows 100 out of 100 of your trade show people to scan your card using the QR code. NFC technology is super cool and will WOW the people you meet, but if it doesn't work for whatever reason the QR code is a good failsafe.
Another point to make is that NFC technology is fairly new, and therefor most still are not aware about it. This brings on that aforementioned WOW factor when someone scans your card and your profile pops up like magic, but also the inconvenience of having to explain to an unknowing person to hold there phone up to your card. They are often skeptical and clueless to your request.
QR codes are familiar, they were always a thing but the pandemic really brought them to life because restaurants and many services forced the general public to use them.
If you are at a tradeshow and meeting a ton of people on the fly, you will notice it gets exhausting explaining the NFC tap feature to hundreds of skeptical people you just met, sometimes it is easier to hold up your card and tell them to scan the QR to save your contact. You will see they instantly know what that means... open the camera, hold up, and scan. Easy.
Additionally, if you are getting one of our NFC signs or stickers and perhaps you are sticking them in a place that is unsupervised. You can depend on the customer knowing exactly what to do when they see the QR code, while an unfamiliar customer that sees an NFC symbol may not know what that means or could assume an app is needed to scan.
in 2023 and 2024, we always recommend having a QR code. This article was not to disrespect NFC technology, but to be transparent of the shortcomings as we are still in the early-adopter phase. As time progresses and older phones phase out completely, and as technology changes and more people become aware of NFC tech we will start transitioning away from QRs. In the mean time it is up to you to decide. We offer the option to add or remove QRs from any of our products before purchase.