Apr 21, 2016

Mobile apps are order of the day.

Take out wallet and try to count the cards you have. Debit Cards, Credit Cards, Loyalty Cards of shopping malls and cafés, bus pass, train passes, etc., and the list can go on. What if all these cards vanished suddenly? No you are not victim of a theft, but a victim of future. Yes, the time is near, when all these cards and tickets will go digital and will live on your smartphone. This technology is called the NFC or Near Field Communication. Welcome to Near Field Communications (NFC), a contact less, Wi-Fi-lite style technology, that could already be in your smartphone, and could soon be a regular feature of your daily life.

What is NFC?:-

Basically, what NFC does is, it identifies you and your bank account to a nearby computer. It uses a simple technology. It’s a short-range, low power wireless link evolved from radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology that can transfer small amounts of data between two devices held a few centimetres from each other.

It doesn’t need a pairing code like Bluetooth, and since it uses very less power, the battery in the device is not being read. Just tapping your phone on the contact less payment terminal in a shopping mall, a train station, a café, will enable the identification of your account, and to add with it, even your personal preferences, shopping habit, etc., and transacts the payment with an app in your phone.

Why is NFC any better than Credit Card?:-

Now you would argue, how better it is than a credit card, and some newer credit cards have tap to pay feature. Yes, some credit cards do, have tap to pay feature, but NFC on mobile lot easier, since it is executed with a device which is already in your hand – smart phone and there is no need to dig in your wallet to take the card out. And to add with this is secure than using a credit card. Another big NFC pitch is that your smartphone could simultaneously store loyalty cards, coupons, tickets and boarding passes, so you could use your NFC smartphone to transmit and receive data in those accounts, too.

How Secure is NFC?:-

NFC makes it a whole lot easier to perform a huge range of digitized tasks. But with this kind of power embedded within such a tiny chip, is this technology really reliable? Many technology experts say NFC really is fundamentally secure by virtue of its extremely short range. If somebody tries to hack your account, he or she should be very close physically with you. It should be uncomfortably close, in other words, you would be aware that the person is there. And unless the person is a very intimate friend, you would not be happy about it.

NFC technology has varying layers of security, depending on the use and the hardware. When you link your NFC smartphone to your credit card, your data is actually stored in a tiny part of the hardware — like a little lock box within your phone. In some cases, this is in the SIM card, but it could also be elsewhere in the phone. But note: this data is encrypted.

On top of this, you often have to punch in a personalized PIN on the phone in order to complete a payment. And if your NFC phone is stolen, you can freeze or disable your payment account by calling the services or by visiting a website. You can also call the credit card issuers directly and cancel your cards — just as you would, if you have lost your personal wallet.

So what’s the future?:-

Industry leaders say, that this technology will catch up in three to five years. It has gained traction in parts of Europe and Asia, especially in Japan. Though NFC might be new to some of us, the technology isn’t that new. The industry standard for it was established between 2003 and 2004. Over the past few years, NFC has become more prominent, but it’s still a long way from mass adoption.

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