What is NFC technology?
You may have bought a new phone lately and noticed, amongst the usual features such as WiFi and Bluetooth, something called NFC. This new wireless technology can be used in lots of ways, find out more about how it could work for you.
What is NFC?
NFC stands for Near Field Communication and is the latest wireless capability to be put into smartphones by their manufacturers. It allows devices to establish a connection with each other by either touching them together or placing them near each other.
What will I use it for?
At the minute NFC is still in its infancy, but it is gaining more widespread use. The latest generation of Android-powered smartphones have a feature called Android Beam already built-in, which uses NFC to allow you to connect to another Android-powered phone and transfer media or contacts wirelessly (although the actual transfer is often done by WiFi Direct, which is slightly different).
In the near future you can expect to be using your NFC enabled phone to make payments at contactless card machines in shops, restaurants and other places, by simply placing the device above a reader.
Is NFC payment a safe option?
The technology itself is still being refined and the companies behind it (such as Visa) only allow phones that are secure enough to use the service. Like contactless card payments, transactions are limited to a relatively small figure, anything above this will require a pin code to be entered by the user.
Will it take off?
Like anything new, NFC requires a lot of funding and big players behind it to become a worldwide standard. Visa have certified a handful of phones so far for use with the Visa payWave app for contactless payments and are giving participants in the 2012 Olympics a free Samsung Galaxy S3 with access to payWave so they can make contactless payments in the Olympic Village. This combined with the likes of Samsung, HTC and Blackberry including NFC technology in most of their new devices, means that we could be using our phones for payment sooner than you think.