A new method for signing into businesses through the NZ Covid Tracer app has been officially certified by the Ministry of Health to enable users a quicker and faster way to scan in.

Small South Island start-up company Easy Check-In has developed “Covid tap in tags” to help make life easier for everyone, including those with disabilities, when it comes to signing in.

Easy Check-In’s EJ Matthee told 1News they’d been working with the Ministry since the beginning of the Delta outbreak to offer more inclusive options for people with disabilities.

“The main driver for us was providing something that worked for people with a disability and who struggled with lining up the QR code,” he said.

“You don’t have to open the app or anything – just unlock your phone and wave it over the QR code. It works just like payWave.”

Much like when you tag on to the bus, users will now be able to simply tag into businesses instead of having to open the app and use the camera.

The update to the Government’s app uses the Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities in your phone, when unlocked, to automatically register your entrance. Most android phones and newer iPhones already have this function built in.

A NZ Covid Tracer App QR code and hand sanitiser sit at the entrance to a Countdown supermarket.A NZ Covid Tracer App QR code and hand sanitiser sit at the entrance to a Countdown supermarket. (Source: Getty)


However, businesses wanting to offer this alternative will need to purchase the stickers from Easy Check-In to allow for the ‘tap’ capability.

“The QR stickers have a digital chip embedded in them which allows for the device to use the NFC function. We’ve kept the QR code there as well because not everyone has phones with NFC,” Matthee explained.

Tara Hurley, who has Cerebral palsy, said it took her a while to get used to the current system.

“In the beginning it was difficult and made me not want to participate in scanning,” she said.

Hurley says it was difficult to line the QR code up with her camera and would often hold it up for half a minute before eventually giving up.

“The main thing really is that it works off the proximity to the tag and not having to hold your phone steady when scanning,” she said.

She said there are “groups in the population that the QR code doesn’t work well for”.

“It’s critical to have all avenues available to capture the wider society.”

New Zealand Disability Support Network CEO Peter Reynolds said he applauds any technology which makes things easier for people who are disabled.

“I’m pleased to see more technology options for disabled people to make their lives easier,” he said.

“There’s unlikely to be a single solution to meet everyone’s needs, but there’s a number of growing options becoming available for people with disabilities.”