NFC technology is gaining a lot of attention, but it’s leaving a lot of merchants and consumers alike stumped as it evolves and is used in different forms. If you’re one of them, you’ve come to the right place. Below we’ll answer 10 of the most common questions you might have about NFC.
1. What Does NFC Stand For?
It stands for “Near Field Communication,” reflecting the technology’s ability to establish a connection between two devices when they are in close range, allowing them to communicate.
2. How Does It Work?
According to NFC-Forum.org, “NFC technology enables short-range wireless interaction between consumer electronics, mobile devices, personal computers, electrical appliances, and NFC-compatible tags.”
3. What Radio Frequency Does It Use?
Techie, are you? NFC uses the unlicensed global frequency 13.56 MHz, an ISM band reserved for industry, science and medicine and outside the realm of telecommunications.
4. How Do I Use It?
Well, first you have to have an NFC-enabled device (check here). If you do, you can use it to read information from displays or signs, make contactless payments at stores, pay for public transit or entrance to public places (think museums), take contactless payments from customers, and share with friends’ devices. You can even use it to connect to secure networks. Naturally, this is not an exhaustive list, nor have the applications for NFC technology stopped expanding.
5. Does It Make Life Easier?
If you consider it easier to use a single mobile device to make payments, gain entrance, enable transportation, read information and share with friends easier, then yes.
6. What Are These “Modes”?
NFC technology has three modes: NFC Card Emulation mode for contactless payment; NFC Reader/Writer mode to read information from NFC tags embedded in posters and other objects; and Peer-to-Peer mode for two devices.
7. Is It Safe?
NFC technology so far looks to be safer than other forms of communication. Because the range is so short, hackers would have to be almost impossibly nearby to jack your info. Even then, they’d have to do it when you were intentionally transmitting that information (say, to buy groceries); it wouldn’t work all the time. However, it’s possible you might establish communication with a fraudulent tag, or that a business might keep your information and sell it.
8. What Is the Future of NFC?
Although it is too soon to tell exactly what forms NFC will take, odds are it’s here to stay for a long time. Mobile is big, and the stage is already set for a new (and hopefully improved) contactless way of life. And with EMV being pushed heavily into the US, expect this to take off sooner rather than later.
9. What does NFC have to do with EMV Technology?
EMV – which stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa – is a chip payment initiative that is for now confined to credit and debit card technology and does not extend to other devices. However, EMV-enabled cards do use NFC technology in their contactless payments. With the upcoming EMV Chargeback Liability Shift later this year, EMV, and hence NFC, have garnered a lot of attention.
10. What Is the EMV Chargeback Liability Shift?
This states that on October 2015, any party that does not have EMV chip technology will be held responsible for loss or theft associated with a card transaction at that terminal. Expect to hear more about this liability shift and the NFC technology behind EMV in the coming months. To read up, download our EMV eGuide below.