Differentiate between Fastag, Bar Code, QR Code and NFC.

Let us understand the concepts of Fastag, Bar code, QR code and Near Field Communication (NFC).


FASTag is an electronic scanner system used for toll collection in India, which is operated by the National Highway Authority of India. It is based on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. FASTag is fixed on the windscreen of vehicles. FASTags does not have any expiry date. They can be recharged at any time.

Working of FASTag system

Vehicles with FASTag enabled do not have to stop at toll gates where charges are deducted from the prepaid or bank account when the vehicle is moving. The drivers do not have to stop their vehicle to make transactions as the toll collection will be done electronically under the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programmed.

Bar Code

A bar code reader decodes the data contained in the barcode and sends it to the computer. It produces a beam of light or a laser beam to read barcodes which is reflected by the bar code image. A light sensitive detector which is present in the reader identifies the bar code by recognizing special bars on both ends of image. With the help of these special bar’s reader is able to identify whether the bar code has been read right side up or upside down.

Once a barcode is identified by a bar code reader it decodes it and converts the individual bar patterns into numeric digit code that can be read by computer. After decoding the barcode it enters that data into the computer as a text.

Given below is the sample image of bar code −

QR Codes

QR code is called as "Quick Response", it allows us to encode or store over 4500 characters in a two-dimensional bar code. These codes are the "square barcodes" that are initially developed and used in Japan.

The main aim of the QR code is to store the information in such a way that the machine (scanner) can be able to read the data present in the code.

Given below is the sample QR code image −

As we can see above all QR codes are made of black dots and white spaces forming a square grid. When humans scan this QR code via scanner then they can be able to view the information in a readable format. Nowadays, mobiles allow us to scan these QR codes easily.

Uses of QR codes

QR codes can be used for storing data like −

  • Simple text

  • Phone numbers

  • Online conferences via zoom app

  • Online one time passwords(OTP)

  • Online accounts authentication and many more

Near Field Communication (NFC)

NFC operates within a radius of about 4 cm and also provides a wireless connection between your device and another device. It allows for two-way communication, with both devices involved and are able to send and receive information. This NFC connection does not depend on Wi-Fi, 3G, LTE or otherwise, and it doesn't cost anything to use.

With the help of a credit card which is linked to the device it is helpful to make payments by simply holding your device near an NFC-enabled payment machine. There are many other uses for NFC as well. Examples include: Paying a fare on public transit, such as a bus or train

Given below is the sample image of NFC −


The major differences between QR code, NFC, Fastag, Barcode are as follows −

NFCFastagQR codeBarcode
NFC code was created and developed by Franz and Philippian the year 2002.Fastag was developed by the national payment corporation of India in the year 2014.QR code was created and developed by Masahiro Hara in 1994.Barcode was created and developed by Norman Joseph Woodland in 1952.
NFC is one typeFastag is represented in one type.QR Code is one typeBar code and be represented in 2 types − one dimensional or 2 dimensional.
NFC is used for identity cards, contact less payments, mobile payments etc.Fastag is used by the National highway authority for toll collection.QR code is a two dimensional printed representation of data used to scan and retrieval of dataBarcode stores numbers in a printed format where the computer can understand.
The technology used by NFC is inductive coupling between antennas of the connecting devices.Fastag is based on RFID technology.QR code is based on Morse code.A barcode is represented in the form of bars and spaces of varying width which can be read with an optical barcode scanner.
NFC storage capacity is up to 8 kilobytesFastag storage capacity is 3 kilo bytes.QR code storage capacity is 2 kilobytesThe storage capacity of Barcode is more than 100 bytes.
NFC is not cost effective.Fast Tag is cost effectiveQR code is more cost effective but it is easily to deployBarcode is cost effective
Only one NFC can be processed at a time.At a time so many fastags can be read at toll plaza.At a time only one QR code can be read.At a time only one bar code can be read.
NFC popularity is moderate when compared to fastag.Now-a-days Fastag's popularity has become High.QR code is more popularIt requires less storage when compared to QR code.
NFC is a two way communication.Fastag is one way communication.It is one way communication.Barcode is one way communication
NFC requires more storage when compared to Fastag , QR code and BarcodeFastag requires more storage when compared to QR code and barcode and less when compared to NFCQR code requires less storage when compared to NFC and Fastag.Bar code requires less storage when compared to NFC, FAstag, and QR code.
NFC is used for identity cards, contact less payments, mobile payments etc.Fastag is used by the National highway authority for toll collection.QR code used at super markets and different stores to track all purchased products and also used in hospitals, cinema halls etc.Barcode usage is more in super packets and stores where the item's information and rate is tracked and maintained.