NFC vs RFID vs QR Code: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. NFC (Near Field Communication) is a short-range wireless technology that enables data exchange between devices nearby, commonly used for contactless payments, access control systems, and sharing data between smartphones.
  2. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) uses radio waves to identify and track objects. It consists of RFID tags attached to or embedded in objects and RFID readers that collect the data stored on the tags. RFID is widely used in inventory management, supply chain logistics, and access control systems.
  3. QR codes are matrix barcodes scanned using smartphones or dedicated readers. They encode information and can trigger actions like opening websites, displaying text, or initiating operations. QR codes find applications in marketing, advertising, ticketing, packaging, and contactless payment systems.

What is NFC?

NFC is the abbreviation used for the term Near Field Communication. This technology was developed where two devices can communicate wirelessly at a distance of up to 10 cm. The frequency at which the device can operate is approximately 13.56 MHz. Near Field Communication (NFC) has a data capacity of 1-4 KB.

They are commonly used for mobile payments that allow users to only tap on their phones or smartwatch on the payment terminal, and hence the transaction will be completed with just a single click. They are also used in the contactless ticketing system, where users can pay for public transport or any event quickly and easily.  

What is RFID?

RFID is the abbreviation used for the term Radio Frequency Identification. This device or technology has been developed where it uses radio waves to identify or track down objects. For this, the product is attached to a small tag, and a reader is used to transmit the signals to and from this tag. The tag has a unique identifier that helps track the product during the supply chain or other processes.

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This device can be operated at a 125-134 KHz frequency and has a data capacity of less than 1 KB. They are commonly used in healthcare, logistics, retail, etc. Also, the device can communicate at a distance of up to 10 cm.

What is QR Code?

QR Code is the abbreviation used for the term Quick Response Code. It is a 2-D barcode with information as a square grid in white and black dots. This technology was developed in Japan for tracking down vehicle parts, but over time it gained popularity and is now widely used for multiple purposes.

It can be used in various industries like – marketing, logistics, advertising, and many more. A code can store various levels of information, including contact information, URLs, payment information, and more. This code can be accessed simply by using any smartphone or mobile device having a camera to scan it where it will read the code, and information will be decoded and displayed to the user.

Difference Between NFC and RFID and QR Code

  1. The frequency at which NFC works is about 13.56 MHz, and the working or operating frequency of RFID is about 125-134 KHz. And for the same QR Code, there is no operating frequency.
  2. The data capacity of an NFC is approximately 1-4 KB, the data capacity for RFID is around 0-10 cm, while for a QR Code, the data capacity is up to 7089 characters.
  3. The range of an NFC is about 0-10 cm; for an RFID, the range is approximately 0-10 cm. At the same for a QR Code, the range is approximately up to 2 meters.
  4. The security level of the NFC is the highest among others. At the same time, the RFID and QR Code both has a medium or low level of security.
  5. Both NFC and RFID have limited compatibility. In contrast, QR Code is highly compatible among the three.
  6. NFC is most commonly used for mobile payments, whereas RFID is used for inventory tracking. In contrast, QR Code is used for product information.
  7. All of them are fast in speed, but in contrast, NFC is the fastest among all.
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Comparison Between NFC and RFID and QR Code

Parameter of ComparisonNFCRFIDQR Code
Frequency13.56 MHz125-134 KHzNot Available
Data Capacity1-4 KBLess than 1 KB7089 Characters
Range0-10 cm0-10 cm2 meters
CompatibilityLimitedLimitedWidely Compatible
UsageMobile PaymentsInventory TrackingProduct Information
SpeedQuite fastQuite fastFast

Last Updated : 19 November, 2023

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