Who am I
I, near field communication (NFC), am a technology that can be used to transmit data. I am relevant because I will help you completely get rid of your wallet. All you have to do is wave your cellphone near the contact point instead of swiping your credit or debit card or paying cash to make a payment.
According to www.nearfieldcommunicationsworld.com, a website dedicated to following developments of technology, there are as many as 200 trials across the globe including a few in India. For instance, Citibank ran a six-month pilot in Bangalore called “Tap and Pay”. It was concluded in December 2009 and released a white paper in 2010. Tata Docomo is also currently running it on a pilot basis in Hyderabad. On a global level, Japan is a leader in this field where it is being used for day-to-day transactions.
Where can I be used
I can be used for a wide range of financial transactions, such as retail payment, at toll plazas and ticketing counters in metros. I can replace not just cash but also credit cards, debit cards. I can also be used to replace smart cards used for non-financial purposes such as gift coupons and identity card used to mark attendance.
How can you use me
To use me, you would either require an NFC-enabled cellphone or SIM card. While cellphone makers such as Samsung, Apple and Nokia are working on NFC-enabled cellphones, payment companies such as VISA and MasterCard are working to develop NFC-enabled SIM cards. It consists of a magnetic chip which is similar to the magnetic strips on your credit/debit cards. It stores all the relevant data about your user account.
How I work
My range is just about 4cm. To make a payment you would have to bring the cellphone close to the NFC chip reader and authenticate the transaction. The transaction could be authenticated by an alphanumeric password, fingerprint or security token. For payments such as those at a toll plaza, an authentication may not be required at all, as the balance will be deducted from your prepaid account.
What’s good about me
Because of my short range, I am a lot more secure mode of transmitting data over bluetooth and radio frequency identification. This may make me the preferred choice in the future for transmission of financial data such as payments.
However, consumer psychologists worry that the convenience and speed offered by me will lead to an increase in impulse shopping. The infrastructure required for the technology is also being developed.