NFC in a Nutshell

With mobile phones considered essential personal effects and services like ApplePay springing up all over the place, Near Field Communication is really taking off. NFC has been in access cards for years, held near a sensor plate for admission to secure buildings.

Banks have partnered with Apple and other phone manufacturers to pair NFC mobiles with tills, allowing us to recycle the the term 'pay phone.'

When enough mobiles have NFC, bank cards and access cards may well drop out of regular use altogether. For access, employers may simply email a link pairing new hires' mobiles with company buildings.

As the United States adopts chip technology in bank cards, they're already too late: mobiles can now conduct sales between themselves. Staff are being freed from sales counters to make NFC transactions in any corner of the store they're tending.

Will NFC supplant cash in ways that cards haven't? Naturally, it’ll come down to cost. NFC payment will need to have the same overhead cash does – zero – before it has a chance to replace coin and scrip.

Is mobile ownership workable as a baseline? It's looking likely. Network operators already saturate their markets, handing out phones for free and taking payment as thin usage margins. Less industrialised regions of the world have deemed telephone lines impractical and have grown mobile networks instead.

New applications from ticketing and coupon kiosks to finding and making contacts in the field promise to make NFC even more powerful. The phrase "it'll zap" already streamlines card sales; where there's no card to physically change hands, things move even faster.

This post is a living essay on the subject of mobile commerce. Please include a retrieval date in any citations as the content is subject to change.