Close enough to kiss … but shopping instead
Soon SmartPhones will be used like credit cards and the need for carrying all those plastic cards on your keychain or in your wallet will seem positively primitive. NFC technology is here and traces its roots back to radio-frequency identification or RFID (the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects that contain electronically stored information). What does it all mean … let’s break it down.
Near Field Communications (get it … near the field … lol) is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into proximity, usually no more than a few centimeters. This shorter communication range is more optimal for security reasons than RFID, which may be able to transmit data from hundreds of meters away.
Who is at the forefront of NFC technology? In 2004, Nokia, Sony, and Philips came together to form the NFC Forum. This group is dedicated to promoting the security, ease of use, and popularity of near field communication. It aims to educate businesses about the technology and upholds standards that allow NFC to operate between different devices. Those who wish to create NFC compliant devices must meet these standards set forth by the NFC Forum. This ensures that any user with any NFC device can use it with any other NFC device or NFC tag.
Who’s currently in on the action? Google has launched Google Wallet that supports MasterCard PayPass, PayPal offers money transfers between smartphones, and other companies are expected to follow suit. As the technology grows, more NFC compatible smartphones will be available and more stores will offer NFC card readers for customer convenience.
So there it is, just wave the smartphone over a NFC compatible device and actually pay a merchant. I mean … .what’s not to love? There is a strong chance Apple’s iPhone 6 will include NFC-compatibility. If so … that will be a game changer. Apple is the only smartphone manufacturer that has enough influence over its customers to change payment behavior en masse.
Let’s go shopping!