Shell’s big QR code experiment

When I called in to a Shell station in Reading on Saturday to fill up my car with fuel, I noticed this banner attached to the side of the pump I was using. “Fill up and go here with our speedy payment service,” it says. “Powered by PayPal.” And there’s a big QR code in the middle of the sign. It’s called Fill Up And Go and the usage idea is simple: You’ll be able to use it through the Shell Motorist App. Select a pump on the forecourt, enter the maximum amount you wish to spend, then scan the QR code or punch in the ID number at your pump, all from inside your car. The App then releases […]

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Making a QR code useful isn’t rocket science

A technology that’s often subject to much criticism is QR codes, those square symbols that enable a barcode scanning app on your smartphone to interpret the data they contain and deliver information to you when you scan them Much of the criticism is about how QR codes are presented by those who create them, often in ways that are simply lame or even mind boggling. But when you see a great example of how a QR code is being used to convey useful information on a practical level, that’s when you see how genuinely useful they can be in terms of the information they enable you to access or the experiences they enable you to enjoy, or both. I’ve written […]

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Imagine what the Bank of England could have done with its QR code ad

A quarter-page ad by the Bank of England in yesterday’s Telegraph caught my eye primarily because it contained a QR code. The print ad informs you that the £50 note featuring an engraved portrait of Sir John Houblon on the reverse side will be withdrawn from circulation at the end of April. The ad also includes a phone number, email and website addresses, plus a QR code that you’d typically scan with a barcode scanning app on your smartphone to bring you something – further information, for instance. So I scanned the QR code with a sense of anticipation, wondering what useful and interesting information I’d get. More details about the withdrawal, certainly. Why it was happening, perhaps, and what […]

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Buy a real pint with a virtual currency

A British pub lets you pay for your pint with Bitcoins: […] The system is quick and effective. The bar staff press two buttons on the till and the screen displays a QR code. The customer opens their digital Bitcoin wallet, takes a snap of the screen and confirms the payment. The staff press one more button and the transaction is complete. Snapping the QR code in a crowded bar could be a challenge but in a quiet pub it is faster than paying by card. It’s an imaginative use of a QR code. Imagine the challenge, though, trying to focus the camera of your smartphone after quite a few pints have been consumed… A contact-less payment option would be […]

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McDonald’s new packaging, a QR code and telling brand stories

The next time you visit a McDonald’s restaurant, especially in the US, check the packaging for information about the nutritional value of the food you’re about to eat. While you can read concise info on the packaging itself, more interesting perhaps is a link to that information in the form of a QR code that you scan with your smartphone’s camera; that action then brings information from a McDonald’s website to your screen that you can read and also share with your social networks. As many McDonald’s restaurants have free wifi these days, getting a connection to do this shouldn’t be an issue. The company said the launch of its new packaging began last week in the US and will […]

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