NFC (near field communication) is a cool technology that allows two devices share essential bits of data. It’s now available on most smart devices, such as iPhone 6, iPhone 6+, Nokia Lumia, or the Samsung Galaxy S5.
It is built in things like a contactless smart card, print ads, and commuter cards. To know more about smart cards, click here
You may not have an NFC enabled smart device or a tablet, but you probably have used it before. The technology is now embedded in Android and Windows devices, making NFC more essential than ever.
As mentioned earlier, NFC technology allows smart devices to exchange data. Both devices must have an NFC chip on it.
How does NFC work?
Here’s how NFC works:
Two-way communication. Two NFC-compatible devices can communicate (read and write) each other. For instance, you can place two Android devices close (few centimeters) each other and transfer data such as photos, contacts, and links.
One-way communication. An NFC-powered device (such as a phone, a smart card, or credit card reader) reads and writes to an NFC chip. For instance, you tap your smart card on the terminal, and the NFC-powered terminal then deducts fees from your card balance.
Power at your fingertips
Can two Bluetooth technology do these things?
Yes, it does!
In fact, NFC is more efficient than Bluetooth technology as it uses way less power.With Bluetooth, pairing two devices can be a headache. You’ll have to discover two devices, search for them and then enter the passcode. Not anymore between NFC-compatible devices. In fact, you can directly work with Bluetooth. For example, rather than pairing the two devices, all you do is tap your iPhone 6 to a speaker, and let the two devices use NFC technology to exchange the data. It’s that simple!
NFC and Mobile Payments
Soon, we all will be paying with our phone, and NFC is going to help us do that. In times of credit card frauds and breaches, NFC is an answer to many people’s prayers as it offers them an incredible solution to shield off their wallets from credit card frauds and thefts.
Mobile payments have become easy today, thanks to retailers like Macys, Target, and Walgreens who have already installed NFC-powered contactless payment terminals at places. As a result, Apple’s iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus, and any phone compatible with Google Wallet can use these terminals for mobile payments.
How secure are NFC Payments?
The most prominent concern about NFC payments is security. Since mobile payment is complex in nature (and structure), intercepting or even hacking the system is out of the question right now. Here’s how it NFC payment works:
You fire up your payment app (Apple Pay, e.g.) on your phone, tap on the credit card terminal, and establish a connection using NFC. You then enter a passcode (or scan your finger) to approve the transaction. Then the “secure element” (SE), chip, confirms the purchase and relays confirmation to the NFC modem for final authorization.
Finally, the payment is processed, just like in a typical credit card transaction.
Alternate (creative) ways to use NFC
Besides mobile payments, there are few alternate ways you can use an NFC-compatible device:
- Android-beam: You can share information between two Android phones by using this NFC-based technology.
- NFC tags: Using your Android or Windows phones (or tablet), you can tap an NFC tag, which triggers your phone to act on something. For instance, you can create an NFC tag on your office desktop. And then when you return at your work in the morning, you tap on the NFC tag, and it will automatically switch on the lights in the room, power up your desktop pc, and play a soft background music.
- Pairing two devices. You can pair your NFC-powered phone (or tablet) to a speaker or a smart washing machine. For instance, you can pair your phone with a Samsung DA-F60 speaker, or remotely watch the washing cycle by pairing it with your LG’s smart washing machine.
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