These days, smartphones are more technologically advanced than ever. However, one of the most common features available in many devices over the past few years is NFC. Also known as near-field communications, this is a technology that allows a smartphone to be used to be paired up with another Bluetooth device for sharing content or mobile payments made directly from a smartphone. It is often unclear just how NFC works, but an explanation can bring about understanding of this important technology.
First and foremost, in order for NFC to work, devices must include an NFC chip. In terms of mobile payments, a user can store his or her credit or debit card information in a wallet function of their phone. When making a purchase, the user must ensure that they have merchant accounts and that the store accepts mobile payments. There are various types of mobile payments being used today – Apple Pay is available for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Google Wallet is for Android and Softcard is available multi-platform for Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.
Many popular retailers accept mobile payments via NFC on smartphones, such as Macy’s, Target and Walgreens. Although there are notable concerns that the technology may not be the most secure, hacking is difficult due to the way the mobile payment system works. This is largely because certain systems require a passcode or fingerprint scan when the payment is made, which is the only way a transaction is accepted. In other words, if a person has his or her iPhone 6 stolen, the thief would not be able to make a payment with the device via Apple Pay because the fingerprint wouldn’t match that of the actual owner. Therefore, credit card processing would not be successful.
In addition to actual payments being made via NFC with merchant accounts, users are also able to store rewards cards, coupons and other content on their smartphone. This means that when the individual is shopping, he or she can access a card digitally and scan it to gain reward points. Items such as airline boarding passes can also be stored digitally, which makes things more convenient as they are right at the person’s fingertips on their smartphone.
Essentially, making mobile payments through NFC technology is something that is only growing. Eventually, most users will rely on it as a means to make purchases. Perhaps one of the best aspects of the technology is that if a person leaves their home and forgets his or her wallet, it would still be possible to buy items simply via their smartphone.