NFC is the hot new thing when it comes to mobile technology. NFC, or Near Field Communication allows devices to communicate with each other over short distances.
So by short waves, or a tap of your device you can send and receive information from any other NFC capable device. The biggest and most buzzed about use of the technology is in the world of mobile payments.
With NFC enabled devices, customers can use their mobile phones to make credit and debit card payments at retailers armed with an NFC enabled POS systems. Of course, POS systems aren’t the only place where NFC can reside – it can be built into anything from a poster to a tag. As long as there’s an NFC chip embedded, it can communicate with people’s devices.
There are three ways in which NFC technology is implemented into mobile devices.
First, it can be fully integrated into the handset. Second, it can be integrated into a SIM card. And lastly, it can be integrated into a microSD removable storage card.
Of course mobile payments aren’t the end all be all use of NFC technology. Foursquare has been experimenting with the technology for use in check-ins to locations. For instance, you could tap your phone to a sign or poster at a location and it would automatically check you in. It could even be used as a wireless key to your car, house or hotel room.
But mobile payments are the main reason why people are talking about NFC.
MasterCard just released a survey about NFC mobile payments. The study attempted to gauge people’s comfort level with the technology – how safe they felt using it at restaurants, stores and other retail locations.
The study found that the younger you are, the more likely you were to embrace mobile payments. Among those surveyed in the 18-34 age range, 63% said they would be comfortable using their mobile device to make a payment. Of those 35 and older only 37% said they would feel comfortable.
As far as the sexes go, men feel more comfortable with mobile payments by a score of 51% to 40%. Of course security is concern number one. 62% of those surveyed said that they would worry about their personal information and would have to make sure it was safe before making a mobile payment.
Are mobile payments going to be the norm in the near future? Possibly. Right now, only a select group of mobile phones are NFC enabled. These include some Nokia phones, the Google Nexus S and the LG 600V. A full list can be found here.
If you are a retail business, it might be time to look into NFC technology if you want to stay on the cutting edge. But time will tell if mobile payments really catch on or if they arrive as a novelty, then eventually fade out.