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Everything You Need to Know About NFC Technology

Everything You Need to Know About NFC Technology

We use mobile devices for many daily operations such as checking the weather or booking an appointment. Now, mobile devices are turning into the ultimate payment tool so you can dismiss your cash and credit cards and use your mobile device only. 

This is possible due to NFC technology that makes Apple Pay or Samsung Pay work. However, NFC can be used for many more use cases and is definitely a technology worth paying attention to in 2021.

NFC deciphered and explained

NFC stands for “near-field communication” and the name itself explains a lot. This technology works similarly to Bluetooth: it requires two devices to be near each other in order for them to “communicate”. All you need to have is an NFC-enabled reader (some of them can be accepting both NFC and EVM payments) and you are ready to accept NFC payments.

So how exactly does NFC technology work? It’s actually not that hard.

NFC is a subset of RFID which stands for radio frequency identification. NFC uses an RFID frequency of 13.56MHz that works for short-range communication. This is why the devices have to be near each other - usually, within two (or less) inches. When a contactless action is initiated (i.e. when you tap on “pay”), the devices begin to share the encrypted data back and forth until the action is completed.

The biggest concern that many people have about NFC is security. But here’s the thing: NFC payments tend to be more secure than credit card payments and we will explain the reason below. For now, remember the following: NFC is really fast, highly secure, and a great solution in the mobile-first era.

The benefits of NFC

It won’t be enough to just say that NFC technology is fast and secure - for sure you would like a more detailed explanation. Below we list down and explain the biggest benefits of NFC over other similar technologies.

Security

Some people are hesitant about the NFC technology as they still perceive mobile payments as something unreliable. But in reality, NFC is probably the most secure payment option that you may get.

First, the data that is shared between the devices is dynamic - meaning, it changes constantly, unlike the static data on a magnetic-stripe card. Second, the NFC data is encrypted so it becomes really hard for hackers not only to steal but to decipher it as well. Apple Pay, for example, uses tokenization for NFC transactions. That means the data that’s shared by the NFC device is first transformed into unique tokens and only then is processed.

Speed

NFC technology is much faster than EMV. Due to the nature of EMV chip cards, the interaction between the card’s chip and the processor might take some time while NFC transactions happen within mere seconds. Hence, anyone who doubts the use of NFC technology should take into consideration the fact that modern mobile payments are more secure and faster than traditional payment methods.

Power consumption

While NFC is slightly slower than Bluetooth, it has an important advantage which is less power consumption. It may not be suitable for certain use cases but is perfect for both mobile devices and passive devices that do not have enough operating power. Note though that little power consumption leads to a shorter transmission range: NFC is able to operate within an approximately 10 cm range and Bluetooth can cover the range of up to 10 meters.

NFC use cases

If you thought that NFC payments are the only use case for this technology, there is a pleasant surprise waiting for you - there are several more interesting use cases for NFC to learn about.

Recording time and attendance

Many people are used to admittance cards either at work or at institutions. Guess what: these cards can be replaced with mobile devices instead.

With the help of NFC technology, you can significantly improve your security and authorization processes as well as optimize attendance management. Because NFC shares encrypted data, it can be efficiently used in any organization that requires a high level of security. 

Asset management

Another great use case for NFC technology is asset tracking and management. With the help of NFC, employees can do the following:

  • Use NFC tracking tags for fast item scanning,
  • Track whether the item was returned and who is responsible for returning it,
  • Use NFC tags on storage rooms to monitor whether they were checked.

Needless to say, the first industry to pay attention to NFC technology in relation to asset management is warehousing. However, other industries can consider using this technology as well as it can significantly save you time and money.

Verification of medications

A great way to ensure medications’ authenticity is by placing NFC tags on them. Patients and medics can scan these tags and make sure the medication was not opened before and that it’s 100% valid and authentic. In addition, an NFC tag can also contain information about the recommended dosage, the expiry date, side effects, and similar information. Needless to say, this can be really valuable especially when a person needs to learn about the medication real quick.

Collection of information

Similar to the work of QR codes, NFC can be used to obtain information from NFC tags that can be placed on anything you need. Price for tickets, information about a certain event, information about medications in a drug store (see the point above!) - the possibilities are close to endless. And since NFC is contactless and quick, such a method of collecting information can be really useful in many cases, especially when the need for information is urgent.

What do you need to implement NFC payments?

An NFC-enabled reader. That’s it!

Indeed, in order for your business to start accepting NFC payments, all you need to have is a reader and its price can start from $50 only. Once you set it up, you are good to go and can accept payments from your customers in a swift and efficient manner.

Conclusion

NFC is a very promising technology that can be gradually implemented in many industries, from warehousing and logistics to healthcare and finances. As it’s gradually gaining popularity, we will be getting more and more used to the fact that all important operations can now be completed within a second and via our mobile devices - and that looks like something sci-fi writers from the 80ies would write about.