Top 10 Reasons Why Your QR Code Isn't Working

Created on 10 July, 2023QR-code • 5 minutes read

Discover the top 10 reasons why a QR code may not work, from poor lighting and insufficient contrast to incorrect size and damage to the code. QR codes are meant to be scanned by smartphones and seem simple to create, but if the do's and don'ts are not followed, they may not work properly.

What are the most common problems with QR codes?

There are several reasons why a QR code does not work or scan correctly. In general, there are ten reasons why a QR code does not work correctly. In order to generate a properly functioning QR code that is easy to scan, it is important to avoid the errors listed below.

If you are planning to launch a QR code campaign, it is crucial to know how to create a functioning QR code. Fortunately, you can use mijnQRcode's QR code generator to create a quality QR code.

Here are the possible reasons why QR codes don't work:

1. Reverse QR code colors

When creating a QR code, it is crucial to remember that the foreground color should always be darker than the background color. This is the most important rule to follow when creating a QR code. QR code scanners can easily detect QR codes with high contrast between the foreground and background colors. If you do not follow this rule and the background is darker than the foreground, the QR code cannot be scanned properly. It may look nice, but it simply won't work.

Reverse QR code colors

2. QR code has insufficient contrast

To ensure that a QR code can be scanned quickly and accurately, it is critical to use colors that create sufficient contrast between the foreground and background of the QR code. Avoid using similar light or dark colors, as this can slow down the scanning of the QR code or lead to error messages.

QR code has insufficient contrast

3. QR code is out of focus

It is difficult to scan blurry QR codes, so make sure the image of the QR code is of high quality and high resolution, regardless of whether it is a large or small file, and is suitable for both screen and printed format.

QR code is out of focus

4. QR code with too many pixels

It's important to regulate the amount of content in your QR code. Have you ever noticed that some QR codes are stretched and more pixelated than others?

First, you need to know what type of QR code you want to use: static or dynamic QR codes that store data in a code displayed in pixels.

The more data you put in the code, the busier the dots become, causing the code to shrink in the corner that carries the information. This makes the QR code harder to detect and read.

If you want to include more information, switch to a dynamic QR code. A dynamic QR code does not store the data directly in the code itself. Instead, it contains a short URL stored in the QR code generator online that redirects end users to the destination once the information is scanned. This way you avoid crowded codes and use dynamic QR codes with links (URL).

It is important that the codes are readable and that the size of the QR code is suitable for different display points.

QR code with too many pixels

5. QR code properly placed and made visible

QR codes are useless if they are not noticed. Therefore, make sure you place QR codes in a location and in a way that is easily noticed by your target audience.

Always place the QR code in the right position, location or area and make sure that the code is not overlooked. For example, it is smart to place the QR code at eye level so that eyes are led directly to the code.

Don't forget to add a call-to-action and place a frame around your QR code to make it stand out even more.

QR code properly placed and made visivle

6. URL or web link does not work or contains incorrect data.

Always check the data entered or the URL before using the QR code. Small typos in the URL may cause the QR code to become invalid, or the link may point to a website or page that no longer exists.

If the QR code is invalid, the user may have deleted it, or the page it links to no longer exists and a 404 error page is displayed.

It's always safer to scan your QR code campaigns before publishing so you can correct any mistakes before it's too late.

7. QR code has expired

A static QR code created with the QR generator from will never expire. However, it may happen that the content or link is out of date, making the QR code unusable. A static QR code can be scanned indefinitely.

If you create a dynamic QR code, make sure you renew your subscription to before it expires. Otherwise, the dynamic QR code will no longer work. Please note that a dynamic QR code requires a paid subscription as it offers advanced features such as editing and tracking that are not available with static QR codes.

8. The QR code is too customized

Customizing and embellishing the QR code can contribute to your personal branding, but don't overdo it, as this can make the QR code undetectable to QR code readers.

It is important not to change the QR code data pattern extensively, as this makes the QR code unrecognizable. Instead, make simple modifications to the QR code, such as using appropriate colors, adding unique borders, frames and images to make the QR code stand out.

Remember that "less is more" and that it is not necessary to customize the QR code too much to make it look good.

9. Keep in mind the distance when scanning the QR code

When scanning the QR code, keep in mind the distance from the code. If the QR code is close, keep a small distance so the scanner can detect the code.

If you are scanning the QR code from afar, such as from a billboard, make sure you are close enough to the QR code to scan it properly. The QR code must be within a reasonable distance to be scanned.

10. The QR code campaign is disabled for some reason.

Another reason why the QR code is not working may be because the campaign has been disabled for some reason. This can happen, for example, if the campaign has ended or if the owner has turned off the QR code.

Here is a summary of the reasons why QR codes may not work:

  • Reverse colors of the QR code
  • Insufficient contrast between the background and foreground color of the QR code
  • Grainy or blurry QR code image
  • Wrong size of printed QR code
  • Poor or incorrect placement of the QR code
  • QR code leads to a broken or wrong link
  • Expired QR code (for dynamic QR codes)
  • Invalid QR code or code pattern
  • Excessive design or modifications of the QR code
  • Disabled QR code campaign (for dynamic QR codes)