You’ve seen NFC advertised, but what actually is it? How can I pay for things with various gadgets? What does it stand for? Well, we’re here to answer all of those things for you. NFC isn’t as complicated as it might sound, and it’s a really neat tool to utilize in your everyday life.

What is it?

NFC stands for Near Field Communication. It’s a way of transmitting data across short ranges (within 10 cm). This makes it the perfect solution for phones, watches, tablets and other handheld devices. It’s similar to other wireless transmitting tools such as Bluetooth, but NFC uses much less power than its rival.

NFC can be used in multiple ways. Traditionally, we used things like Bluetooth to pair our phones together, to send music and image files to each other. NFC offers that ability too, and it requires a simple touch to another phone to begin the process. The more popular route that’s set to take over the world by storm is the ability for a device to communicate with an NFC chip. From here, this can be fixed in a payment terminal, allowing for digital transactions.

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How can I use it?

NFC is becoming ever-more popular as the years go on, and you’ll find it in a range of devices. Many current phones on the market include NFC as standard. Did you know that you can also make NFC smart watch payments, and you can even get NFC chip-implanted business cards?

To make a payment, every device will come with (or can, at least, be installed with) a dedicated app. Link the app with your purchase method, and bring your device to places like Target, or anywhere that has a contactless terminal. From here, it’s simply a case of linking to the terminal and typing a code or other method of validation. There are security measures in place to make sure that no-one steals your valuable information.
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What about the future?

As alluded to earlier, phones, business cards, and watches are just some of the examples of NFC integration. In the future, we’ll probably be seeing a lot of this technology as NFC continues to take off. At this current point in time, it’s gaining rapidly in popularity. It’s entirely possible that we could see a future where our credit cards are NFC-powered. In fact, anything that requires a payment structure might become this way. Terminals might even replace traditional checkouts for the most part.

NFC has a lot of potential in other avenues as well. Video games like Skylanders and Disney Infinity already utilize the technology in their products. Even Virtual Reality devices such as Google Cardboard are getting in on the act.

So, what can we determine from this? Well, it would appear that NFC is only getting started, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. The next time you see a contactless pay terminal, give it a try! You’ll see how easy and efficient this smart technology really is.