|From: Glenn Petersen||11/17/2020 6:48:42 AM|
|CVS becomes first national retailer to offer support for PayPal and Venmo QR codes at checkout|
Sarah Perez @sarahintampa
10:42 AM CST•November 16, 2020
PayPal announced this morning that its customers can now use either PayPal or Venmo QR codes when checking out at more than 8,200 CVS retail stores across the U.S. This is the first national retailer to integrate PayPal’s QR code checkout technology at point-of-sale, the company noted. The additional checkout option will also expand the number of ways customers can pay “touch-free” at CVS — a way to transact that’s become increasingly popular as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the country.
CVS and PayPal announced their plans to cooperate on a point-of-sale solution back in July. At the time, they pegged the time frame for the rollout as sometime in Q4 2020.
The QR code checkout process itself will pull the funds needed for the purchase from the customer’s existing PayPal or Venmo account balance, bank account or from a debit or credit card, just as it would if the transaction was taking place online. Venmo users will additionally have the option to utilize their Venmo Rewards.
Image Credits: PayPal
The transaction does not include any fees, PayPal says. Plus, CVS’ ExtraCare Rewards Program members will still be able to redeem and apply savings using their ExtraCare account when using PayPal’s QR code checkout.
The entire transaction can be touch-free, as it involves QR code scanning as opposed to using a card that has to be swiped or inserted into a terminal or numbers punched into a keypad.
The new option arrives at a time when CVS says it’s seeing increased demand for contactless payments.
Since January, CVS has seen a 43% increase in touch-free transactions, according to data from Forrester. In addition, 11% of the U.S. population says they’re now using a digital payment method for the first time as a result of the pandemic, PayPal noted. The company’s own research also indicated that 57% of consumers said merchants’ digital payment impacted offerings their decisions to shop in their stores.
To use the new QR code checkout option, customers will first launch either their PayPal or Venmo app, click the “Scan” button, ten select the “show to pay” option.
The new checkout experience was made possible through PayPal’s partnership with payments technology provider InComm, which distributed the PayPal QR code technology through its cloud-based software updates to make the feature available at point-of-sale.
While CVS is the first national retailer to rollout PayPal’s QR code checkout, PayPal said it has 10 other major retailers signed up for a similar rollout, including Nike, Tumi, Bed Bath & Beyond and Samsonite, among others. It’s in discussions with well over 100 large retailers about the technology, as well.
“The launch of PayPal and Venmo QR codes in CVS Pharmacy stores will not only provide health-conscious customers with a touch-free way to pay at checkout, but also brings the safety and security of PayPal and Venmo transactions into the store with shoppers,” said Jeremy Jonker, PayPal senior vice president / head of Consumer In-Store and Digital Commerce, in a statement. “We are thrilled that PayPal and Venmo QR codes will help to maintain the safety of CVS customers and employees, especially in the essential pharmacy retail environment as we go into the winter months.”
In addition to the CVS news, PayPal today also noted that its recently announced “Pay in 4” option for splitting purchases across four installments is now fully live across millions of retailers.
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|To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (1702)||11/25/2020 10:03:39 PM|
|Yes, QR huge in China... |
Also a new way to QR. These custom codes are capable of setting up customized text messages. If you want to make getting someone on your list even simpler, they can scan a generated code that will open up their phone's messenger with a message and phone number pre-loaded
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|To: Savant who wrote (1703)||7/26/2021 1:58:45 PM|
|From: Glenn Petersen|
|QR Codes Are Here to Stay. So Is the Tracking They Allow.|
New York Times
July 26, 2021
SAN FRANCISCO — When people enter Teeth, a bar in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, the bouncer gives them options. They can order food and drinks at the bar, he says, or they can order via a QR code.
Each table at Teeth has a card emblazoned with the code, a pixelated black-and-white square. Customers simply scan it with their phone camera to open a website for the online menu. Then they can input their credit card information to pay, all without touching a paper menu or interacting with a server.
A scene like this was a rarity 18 months ago, but not anymore. “In 13 years of bar ownership in San Francisco, I’ve never seen a sea change like this that brought the majority of customers into a new behavior so quickly,” said Ben Bleiman, Teeth’s owner.
QR codes — essentially a kind of bar code that allows transactions to be touchless — have emerged as a permanent tech fixture from the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants have adopted them en masse, retailers including CVS and Foot Locker have added them to checkout registers, and marketers have splashed them all over retail packaging, direct mail, billboards and TV advertisements.
But the spread of the codes has also let businesses integrate more tools for tracking, targeting and analytics, raising red flags for privacy experts. That’s because QR codes can store digital information such as when, where and how often a scan occurs. They can also open an app or a website that then tracks people’s personal information or requires them to input it.
As a result, QR codes have allowed some restaurants to build a database of their customers’ order histories and contact information. At retail chains, people may soon be confronted by personalized offers and incentives marketed within QR code payment systems.
“People don’t understand that when you use a QR code, it inserts the entire apparatus of online tracking between you and your meal,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union. “Suddenly your offline activity of sitting down for a meal has become part of the online advertising empire.”
QR codes may be new to many American shoppers, but they have been popular internationally for years. Invented in 1994 to streamline car manufacturing at a Japanese company, QR codes became widely used in China in recent years after being integrated into the AliPay and WeChat Pay digital payment apps.
In the United States, the technology was hampered by clumsy marketing, a lack of consumer understanding and the hassle of needing a special app to scan the codes, said Scott Stratten, who wrote the 2013 business book “QR Codes Kill Kittens” with his wife, Alison Stratten.
That has changed for two reasons, Mr. Stratten said. In 2017, he said, Apple made it possible for the cameras in iPhones to recognize QR codes, spreading the technology more widely. Then came the “pandemic, and it’s amazing what a pandemic can make us do,” he said.
Half of all full-service restaurant operators in the United States have added QR code menus since the start of the pandemic, according to the National Restaurant Association. In May 2020, PayPal introduced QR code payments and has since added them at CVS, Nike, Foot Locker and around one million small businesses. Square, another digital payments firm, rolled out a QR code ordering system for restaurants and retailers in September.
Businesses don’t want to give up the benefits that QR codes have brought to their bottom line, said Sharat Potharaju, the chief executive of the digital marketing company MobStac. Deals and special offers can be bundled with QR code systems and are easy to get in front of people when they look at their phones, he said. Businesses also can gather data on consumer spending patterns through QR codes.
“With traditional media, like a billboard or TV, you can estimate how many people may have seen it, but you don’t know how people actually interacted with it,” said Sarah Cucchiara, a senior vice president at BrandMuscle, a marketing firm that introduced a QR code menu product last year. “With QR codes, we can get reporting on those scans.”
Cheqout and Mr. Yum, two start-ups that sell technology for creating QR code menus at restaurants, also said the codes had brought advantages to businesses.
Restaurants that use QR code menus can save 30 percent to 50 percent on labor costs by reducing or eliminating the need for servers to take orders and collect payments, said Tom Sharon, a co-founder of Cheqout.
Digital menus also make it easier to persuade people to spend more with offers to add fries or substitute more expensive spirits in a cocktail, with photographs of menu items to make them more appealing, said Kim Teo, a Mr. Yum co-founder. Orders placed through the QR code menu also let Mr. Yum inform restaurants what items are selling, so they can add a menu section with the most popular items or highlight dishes they want to sell.
QR codes “are an important first step toward making your experience in physical space outside of your home feel just like being tracked by Google on your screen,” said Lucy Bernholz, the director of Stanford University’s Digital Civil Society Lab.
Ms. Teo said that each restaurant’s customer data was available only to that establishment and that Mr. Yum did not use the information to reach out to customers. It also does not sell the data to any third-party brokers, she said.
Cheqout collects only customers’ names, phone numbers and protected payment information, which it does not sell to third parties, Mr. Sharon said.
On a recent blustery evening at Teeth, customers shared mixed reviews of the QR code ordering system from Cheqout, which the bar had installed in August. Some said it was convenient, but added that they would prefer a traditional menu at a fine dining establishment.
“If you’re on a date and you’re whipping your phone out, it’s a distraction,” Daniela Sernich, 29, said.
Jonathan Brooner-Contreras, 26, said that QR code ordering was convenient but that he feared the technology would put him out of his job as a bartender at a different bar in the neighborhood.
“It’s like if a factory replaced all of its workers with robots,” he said. “People depend on those 40 hours.”
Regardless of customers’ feelings, Mr. Bleiman said Cheqout’s data showed that about half of Teeth’s orders — and as much as 65 percent during televised sports games — were coming through the QR code system.
“They may not like it,” he said in a text message. “But they’re doing it!”
QR Codes Are Here to Stay. So Is the Tracking They Allow. (dnyuz.com)
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|From: Glenn Petersen||8/20/2021 5:33:47 AM|
|The Numbers Hiding Behind That QR Code|
The now-familiar square of little black boxes added a second dimension to bar codes—and holds exponentially more data
By Eugenia Cheng
Wall Street Journal
Aug. 19, 2021 6:24 pm ET
ILLUSTRATION: TOMASZ WALENTA
Mathematician Eugenia Cheng explores the uses of math beyond the classroom. Read more columns here.
I have cautiously resumed dining in restaurants occasionally, and so have found myself scanning QR codes to access the menu online. It’s a quick and easy process hiding a surprisingly large amount of math.
QR stands for Quick Response, and these codes were invented in 1994 by Masahiro Hara at the Japanese automotive company Denso Wave. Their original purpose was to track inventory in factories, but broader uses became possible with the advent and ubiquity of smartphones.
QR codes are essentially a two-dimensional version of bar codes, which are a clever way of encoding information in an image using vertical lines of different thicknesses that a scanner can detect. Hara’s 2-dimensional version uses a square grid of small black and white squares, apparently inspired by the board game Go.
The extra power is not just used to store a bigger message; it is used to improve accuracy and reliability.
The extra dimension allows for a huge increase in capacity: Where 1-dimensional bar codes typically encode around 20 digits of information, a QR code can hold 4,000 or more depending on the version used. A small increase in the width of the grid yields a much larger increase in the number of small squares available, because of how the math of squaring works.
But this extra power is not just used to store a bigger message; it is used to improve accuracy and reliability. The pattern cleverly encodes information about which way up it is supposed to be, so that it doesn’t matter which way up you scan it. It also has error-correcting information built in, so that if the picture is slightly damaged, the information can still be reconstructed. In fact, depending on the version used, up to 30% percent can be damaged and the code can still be read.
The correcting method is called Reed-Solomon error-correction and was introduced by Irving S. Reed and Gustave Solomon in 1960. It was previously used for compact discs, so that they could be slightly scratched and still play. Reed and Solomon were engineers, but both had doctorates in pure mathematics, and their method uses some quite sophisticated pure math that might otherwise seem very unrelated to daily life: polynomials over finite fields.
Polynomials may be familiar from high school algebra. They are expressions involving a variable often called x, raised to various powers, multiplied by coefficients, and added together—for example, x2 + ¾x + 2 or higher order ones along the lines of ¾x4 + ½x3 + x2+ 2x + 1.
In these examples the coefficients are all rational numbers from an infinite pool, but we could choose coefficients from a more limited “finite field” instead. The theory of finite fields is complicated, but it simplifies certain things, especially where multiplication is concerned. Reed-Solomon error-correction uses a finite field with 256 elements; all the numbers in this system can be represented by a string of 8 binary digits, that is, 0’s and 1’s, which is convenient for computers to handle.
The text of the “message” is also turned into binary digits, so the text and the error-correcting information are all expressed in binary code, which can then be represented as black and white squares instead of 0’s and 1’s. The tiny squares inside the main square of the QR code are laid out in a preset order, and when we scan it, a computer somewhere reads off the binary digits in the appropriate order, corrects any errors found and recovers the message—whether it’s information about a factory component or a website listing tasty pasta dishes.
We don’t have to understand any of this math to use QR codes in a restaurant, but I hope we can be glad that somebody did.
The Numbers Hiding Behind That QR Code - WSJ
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