What is NFC?June 2016
What is NFC?
NFC technology is a standards-based wireless communication technology that allows data to be exchanged between devices that are a few centimeters apart. NFC technology is the perfect solution for bringing the advanced word of technology and the basic world of purchasing together providing solutions for sectors such as Education / Schools, Retail, Security and Access Control.
What makes NFC different?
NFC is distinguished by its intuitive interface and its ability to enable largely proprietary wireless networking platforms to interoperate in a seamless manner. The primary uses are to:
Connect electronic devices, such as wireless components in a home office system or a headset with a mobile phone
Access digital content, using a wireless device such as a cell phone to read a “smart” poster embedded with an RF tag
Make contactless transactions, including those for payment, access and ticketing.
What applications are NFC used for?
NFC-enabled mobile applications include:
Making payments with a wave or a touch anywhere contactless card readers have been deployed
Reading information and “picking up” special offers, coupons and discounts from smart posters or smart billboards
Storing tickets to access transportation gates, parking garages or get into events – Storing personal information that will allow secure building access
When used for mobile contactless payment, NFC-enabled mobile phones incorporate smart chips (called secure elements) that allow the phones to securely store the payment application and
consumer account information and to use the information as a “virtual payment card.” NFC payment transactions between a mobile phone and a POS terminal use the standard ISO/IEC 14443
communication protocol currently used by EMV and U.S. contactless credit and debit cards.
NFC-enabled mobile phones can also be used for chip-enabled mobile marketing applications – coupons, loyalty programs and other marketing offers that can add significant value for merchants, issuers and the mobile ecosystem.
Similar technologies are used for “mobile wallet” services such as Japan’s popular Mobile Felica system, where a mobile phone stores encrypted credit-card data, transit pass information, or retail coupons, and can transmit them to readers at stores or train stations with a tap.
One way to look at NFC is that it’s like RFID, but smart on both sides. RFID chips like those in Mastercard’s PayPass credit cards, Visa’s PayWave cards, and San Francisco’s Clipper transit cards are dumb chips that store data which can be read or altered by card readers. When you tap the chip on a reader, it performs a transaction. NFC takes this a step further by putting the RFID chip in something that can do its own computing, like a mobile phone. So the phone itself can download coupons, for instance, and put the coupon data onto the RFID chip before it’s tapped.