What is NFC and why is it in my phone?

Now that most smartphones come with NFC standard, I think this may be a good time to explain, in as simple terms as possible, what NFC does and why you want it.

NFC is an acronym for Near Field Communication which was developed by Sony and Phillips. The technology stems from radio-frequency identification (RFID) which can be traced back to the early 1980s.

The NFC radio in your phone acts as a transmitter which can only be received by an authorized receiving station. The best example of this can be seen with Apple Pay and Android Pay, where you phone sends your payment information to the POS pin pad.

NFC is not just used for payments, it can be used to transfer almost any type of data, as long as it is small enough for the standard.

If you have payment information on your phone that can be accessed wirelessly, you may be thinking well can’t someone just steal my info? The answer is a simple no…    NFC only works up to 10cm (~4in) between the transmitter and receiver, that is where the near-field comes into play. If someone where to rub against your phone with a receiver at less than 4 inches away, you will still need to authenticate on your device that you wish to have this payment sent.

It’s really the best system we have right now for payments. The new chip credit cards also use a similar technology of RFID and tokenization to process your payments.

In short… You do not need to worry about NFC in your phone, it’s a great technological advancement and it’s actually safer than using your credit card for payments.     BB