Sign In  |  Register  |  About San Anselmo  |  Contact Us

San Anselmo, CA
September 01, 2020 1:33pm
7-Day Forecast | Traffic
  • Search Hotels in San Anselmo

  • ROOMS:

Why QR code on vCard is better than NFC

Why the QR code on a vCard is so much better than NFCPhoto from Unsplash

Originally Posted On:


I recently attended a major industry conference, and gained some interesting insights about the use vCards in day-to-day interactions with fellow businessmen.  I had decided to systematically use my vCard with everyone I met, to see how it performed and to test peoples’ reactions, rather than hand out business cards.  As you probably know, a vCard is a PVC plastic card which carries a user’s contact information in order to easily transfer that data directly into someone’s phone.  The format used to transfer the information is highly standardized, and works across all devices.  The transfer is done either via the use of the NFC chip embedded in the card, or via a QR code printed on the front of the card.

I really wanted to test the use of the NFC chip, since this is the more advanced and recent technology.  I should start by stating that NFC is available as a standard feature in pretty much all phones which are less than six years old.  So one would expect that very few phones would be encountered which are unable to read an NFC chip.

But, to my surprise and concern, very few of the people I wanted to exchange business card information with were able to, with their phones, read the NFC chip in my vCard.  With a few willing people, we checked that their NFC was turned on, we tried different positions on their phone in case it was an antenna problem, and we were still unable to resolve the problem.  In fact, the only way, which worked every time, was to have them scan the QR code.

Scanning a QR code has become second nature in the last few years.  Before Covid, many people were befuddled or unsure of how to deal with a QR code.  But the experience of going to restaurants where the menus were only available upon scanning a QR code made everyone wake up to the arrival of this now-ubiquitous technology.  As a result, at this conference, no one was disconcerted when I suggested they scan the QR code on my vCard to capture my contact information.

At the conference, I realized that many people don’t actually understand, or even know about, the NFC technology in their phone.  Many were surprised when I explained briefly that it was similar to Apple Pay or their Samsung Wallet, which most people did indeed know about.  But I learned that most people thought that this technology was just for wirelessly sending their credit card information to a payment terminal, and didn’t realize that the same technology was capable of receiving information.  The NFC community has clearly got some work to do in order to ensure that the general population of phone users has a better understanding of its capabilities.

This experience has led me to question whether we are truly ready for NFC vCards.  While the vCards produced by InstantCard and many other vendors do indeed have an encoded NFC chip, my feeling is that it is not “ready for prime-time”.  However, since the same cards also carry a QR code, that technology may in fact be the most reliable for communicating contact data directly into someone’s phone, and being sure it is being stored in their contacts file.

While the idea of just tapping with an NFC card sounds attractive, and is indeed wonderful when it works, it needs to be reliable and consistent 100% of the time to gain the average user’s confidence.  And that is not yet the case.  If you are meeting someone and have just a few seconds to exchange contact information, you don’t want to struggle with an inconsistent technology before finding an alternative method which works.  So at this point in time, I suggest that you just lead with the QR code, and you’ll get very consistent results.

Hopefully a few years from now everyone will be familiar with the NFC technology built into their phone.  They will fully understand how it works in the same way that, a few years ago, everyone came to understand how the QR technology built into their phones worked.  But for the average user I fear that we are not there yet.  And since, when you are out “networking” and want to quickly get your contact info into you’re contacts’ phones, the simplest and most reliable method is still the use of a QR code.

Data & News supplied by
Stock quotes supplied by Barchart
Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes.
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.
Copyright © 2010-2020 & California Media Partners, LLC. All rights reserved.