NFC for mobile devices
It is probable that you have never used a NCF chip to buy via contactless, since they are becoming to be included in the most and newest smartphones. However, we are sure you have heard of it.
What NFC technology is?
Near Field Communication is a wireless technology that operates in the 13.56 MHz band (you don’t need a license to be able to use this kind of band). It derived from the RFID labels.
NFC is an open platform designed for mobile phones and devices. Its transfer rate can reach 424 kbit/s so it is not suitable for the transmission of large amounts of data, but for instant communication (example: identification and validation of equipment/people).
Its main advantage is the speed of communication, which is almost instantaneous without previous pairing. Another advantage is its transparent use and that the fact that NFC devices are able to send and receive information simultaneously. Nevertheless, it has some disadvantages like the small scope: it runs in the range of 20 cm.
NFC technology can operate in two modes:
- Active: in which both devices generate an electromagnetic field and exchange data.
- Passive: in which there is only one active device and the other uses that field to exchange information.
NFC security issue
Due to the fact that we use radio frequency communication, we are always at risk that our transmission will be intercepted. In this case, because of its short scope we have an advantage about this safety issue, but we can’t dismiss the possible copy of the codes chip for a fraudulent use. Besides this risk, there are also other possible dangers – the modification or insertion of errors.
The most common uses of this way of wireless data transmission are: identification, collection and exchange of information and over all, the payment system.
- Identification: a possible use for the NFC technology is to use it in places where identification is required. We let our mobile be read by a reader. An example is the season ticket for public transports.
- Data collection/exchange: Google could be the most important company that that makes the most out of this system combined with RFID labels. This company can mark where we are or send information about an event almost instantly.
- Mobile payment: This is the most interesting use of NFC. This is probably the technology of the future concerning payment methods. Its comfortable usage and easy mode to integrate expenses in our bill or relate them with our bank account are the main advantages of this payment method.
Mobile phones with NFC
Apple has rolling out a new mobile wallet method for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus or iPad Air 2: Apple Pay, thanks to the integration of NFC chips. To configure Apple pay:
- Download the iOS 8.1 update (Settings/General/Software Update). If this update is not show on your dive, you have to reboot it. When you have it, click on download and install; enter your code or password, accept terms and conditions and confirm once again. Wait for some minutes while it is being downloaded.
- When this process is finished, there is another window with an install option. Click on it and after that, you will see a Welcome screen when it is restarted.
- Now click on Continue, select Use-Search my iPhone (if it is configured), if not do it. This is very important because in case of loss, you can use Search my iPhone to delete it completely in a remote way.
- Then, you have update iCloud Drive. After downloading the new update, your home screen won’t be changed, since Apple pay doesn’t have its own app.
- To configure your credit card, you have to enter into Passbook application. Once in Passbook, click on Configure Apple Pay and Add new credit or debit card. Fill in your credit data, manually or taking a photo to the credit card. Accept the use conditions and confirm it.
- When you finish, you will have to enter a verification code which will be sent to you by email or by message. With this code, your credit card will be activated and you will be able to purchase.
- An important aspect is that the first credit card added to Passbook will work as the one used by default.
Google wallet mobile payments
Google Wallet is a smartphone application launched in 2011 that turns your phone into a virtual credit card/card-less paying device. It allows you to stock, in a safe way, your information about payments of your Google account to not introduce you shipping and billing data every time you have to purchase online.
To pay, you simply tap the Google Wallet application on your phone, enter the 4-digit PIN code to unlock it and approach the phone to the terminal. This will send a secure payment via NFC.
You can see how this system works on a demo performed at the Mobile World Congress in 2011:
The incorporation of an NFC chip into the iPhone is something that has been talked about for a long time now, before Apple launched the iPhone 5. Apple presented Passbook instead of this system, a kind of virtual wallet where you can store your tickets, gift certificates and much more. According to PhoneArena, North American telecom company Verizon confirmed NFC incorporation into the next iPhone, and if the rumours aren’t lying it’ll be the iPhone 5S.
The rumor has it that in Verizon data base appeared a clear reference to the fact that the iPhone 5S will have NFC. It will be a step towards Apple’s product standardization, taking into account that the company normally opts for a platform that isn’t compatible with others. The guys from Cupertino would finally start competing with other mobile payment tools, like Google Wallet.
Predictions of NFC for mobile devices
According to Juniper Research, the number of users using NCF payment services, like Apple Pay or Google Wallet, will increase from 100 million to 519 million people for the coming years. In its analysis, this consultant assures that smartphones will modify the panorama and bank business models, operators and mobile developers.
According to the manager of Gartner’s investigations, Sandy Shen, mobile transactions will be an industry with a value over $721M.
In addition, Juniper Research estimates that there will be more than 1,500M of mobile wallets around the world by 2018, and out of three smartphones will be able to pay via contactless, 50% of them will belong to users from emerging markets.
On the other hand, Apple and Google will not continue to lead the list of most common mobile payment services. There are more industries interested in the development of this tendency. For example, the industry Oberthur Technologies could be the first option to buy through a NFC payment, even if nowadays they are not popularly known.
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