Choosing the Best Barcode for Your Wallet Passes

Robert Leefmans
Robert Leefmans
Jun 3 2024
Posted in Best Practices

A Marketer's Guide to Digital Wallet Mastery

Choosing the Best Barcode for Your Wallet Passes

Wallet passes have emerged as a powerful tool in this realm, enabling businesses to offer customers convenient access to tickets, loyalty cards, coupons, and more. One critical element of these digital passes is the barcode. The type of barcode you choose can significantly impact the usability and functionality of your wallet passes. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of barcodes supported by Notificare and provide you with actionable advice on selecting the best one for your needs.

Understanding the Importance of Barcodes in Wallet Passes

Wallet passes are meant to streamline interactions at various checkpoints such as boarding gates, venue entrances, or points of sale. The barcode on these passes is the key element that enables these seamless interactions. It’s the gateway through which data is transferred from the pass to the scanner, facilitating quick and efficient transactions. Therefore, choosing the right barcode type is essential to ensure compatibility with scanners and the overall efficiency of your operations.

Why Barcodes Matter

The primary function of a barcode on a wallet pass is to be scanned. This scanning process needs to be fast and reliable, ensuring that customers do not face any delays or frustrations. Additionally, the type of barcode you choose can affect the amount of data you can store and how easily it can be read by different types of scanners. Understanding these aspects is crucial for making an informed decision.

QR Code: Versatile and Widely Compatible

Overview of QR Codes

QR codes, or Quick Response codes, are a type of matrix barcode that has gained immense popularity due to their versatility and ease of use. They can encode a wide variety of data, including URLs, text, and other identifiers. QR codes are supported by virtually all modern scanners, making them an excellent choice for most applications.

Benefits of Using QR Codes

One of the main advantages of QR codes is their widespread compatibility. Most smartphones come equipped with built-in QR code scanners, which means that customers can easily scan the codes using their devices. This makes QR codes particularly useful for marketing campaigns that target a broad audience. Additionally, QR codes can store a significant amount of data in a relatively small space, which can be useful for embedding detailed information without compromising the design of the pass.

PDF417: Robust and Data-Heavy

Overview of PDF417

PDF417 is a stacked linear barcode format that is commonly used in various industries, including transportation, identification cards, and inventory management. This type of barcode can hold a substantial amount of data, including up to 1850 alphanumeric characters, 2710 digits, or 1108 bytes.

Benefits of Using PDF417

The primary benefit of PDF417 is its capacity to store large amounts of data. This makes it ideal for applications that require detailed information to be encoded, such as boarding passes or identification cards. Additionally, PDF417 barcodes are highly robust and can withstand damage while still being scannable. This makes them a reliable choice for scenarios where the barcode might be exposed to wear and tear.

Code128: High-Density and Efficient

Overview of Code128

Code128 is a high-density linear barcode that is used for alphanumeric or numeric-only barcodes. It is extensively used worldwide, particularly in the shipping and packaging industries, for product identification at container and pallet levels.

Benefits of Using Code128

Code128 barcodes are known for their efficiency and high data density. They can encode all 128 characters of ASCII and are designed to minimize the space required to store data, making them ideal for applications where space is at a premium. This makes Code128 a great choice for inventory management, shipping, and packaging, where barcodes need to be compact yet highly readable.

Aztec Code: Accuracy and High Data Capacity

Overview of Aztec Code

Aztec Code is a type of 2D barcode that is designed for high accuracy and data capacity. An Aztec Code symbol can encode up to 3832 numeric digits, 3067 alphabetic characters, or 1914 bytes of data, making it one of the most data-dense barcode types available.

Benefits of Using Aztec Code

One of the standout features of Aztec Code is its ability to be read accurately even when partially damaged or obscured. This makes it highly reliable in environments where barcodes might be subjected to rough handling or adverse conditions. Additionally, the high data capacity of Aztec Code makes it suitable for complex applications where a large amount of information needs to be encoded in a small space.

Choosing the Right Barcode for Your Wallet Passes

Consider Your Use Case

The first step in choosing the right barcode for your wallet passes is to consider your specific use case. Are you creating passes for event entry, transportation, loyalty programs, or something else? Each use case may have different requirements in terms of data capacity, scanner compatibility, and durability.

Compatibility with Scanners

Ensure that the barcode type you choose is compatible with the scanners used at your checkpoints. While QR codes and Code128 are widely supported, some scanners may have specific requirements or limitations. It’s essential to test the barcodes with your scanners before finalizing your decision.

Data Capacity Needs

Assess how much data you need to encode in the barcode. If you require a significant amount of information, such as for identification cards or detailed boarding passes, PDF417 or Aztec Code might be the best options. For simpler applications, QR codes or Code128 may suffice.

Design and Aesthetics

Finally, consider the design and aesthetics of your wallet pass. The size and appearance of the barcode can impact the overall look of the pass. Ensure that the barcode fits well within the design and does not detract from the user experience.


Choosing the right barcode for your wallet passes is a critical decision that can significantly impact the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts. By understanding the strengths and limitations of each barcode type, you can select the one that best meets your needs and ensures a seamless experience for your customers. Whether you opt for the versatility of QR codes, the data capacity of PDF417, the efficiency of Code128, or the accuracy of Aztec Code, making an informed choice will help you maximize the benefits of your wallet passes and enhance your overall marketing strategy.

For more detailed guidance and support, Notificare offers comprehensive documentation and expert assistance to help you make the best decisions for your digital passes. Explore our resources and get started on creating efficient, user-friendly wallet passes today!

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