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How to Scan QR Codes

Scan Those QR Codes With Your Phone For Hidden Discounts

I recently went on a trip to Japan and saw QR codes — which are similar to bar codes — everywhere. The difference between these codes and the barcodes you see on any product in a store is that QR codes can hold a lot more information. Companies from advertisers to magazine publishers use them to point you to websites, extra content, and special discounts, and in Japan those scannable boxes were everywhere: ads on the street, ads on TV, in the subway, in magazines. Back in the States, I've started noticing them here and there, but they are nowhere near as pervasive as they are across the Pacific.

But we may be seeing them more and more. If you are a reality TV fan, you'll recognize Bluefly's new "Closet Confessions" ad campaign airing on Bravo, where style-obsessed celebrities (like Nicky Hilton and Johnny Weir) dish about their favorite finds. Have you noticed any QR codes in the Bethenny Frankel spot? There's one that shows up on the bottom half of the screen while the ad plays. Scanning it with your phone takes you to a webpage with discounts; currently $30 off a purchase of $150 or more.

Want to know how to get your phone to read QR codes? Learn more after the break.

Some phones running on the Android platform already have a built-in scanner, but if not, download a barcode scanner from the Android Market. If you have an iPhone, you'll also need to download a barcode scanner from the App Store. If you have a BlackBerry and are using BBM 5.0 or later, you should have a scanner option in your Messenger menu or find one in App World.


Once you have the reader, the steps are usually the same:

  • Open the app, which will activate your phones camera function.
  • Aim at the QR code and hold still for a few seconds while the camera focuses.
  • An option to go to the information should pop up once the reader has captured it.
  • Enjoy your newly found sales and discounts!


Source: Flickr User akaalias


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