Near Field Communications, or NFC, is the exchange of information between two devices via wireless signal. For example, a wireless signal emitting from your cell phone can act as a credit card when making a purchase.
NFC can be used in other ways beyond credit card transactions. It can integrate with hardware, such as your car, to unlock a door. It can activate software.
Soon enough, using your phone as a credit card will be commonplace. Mobile contactless payments, in which you pay by holding your phone near the payment reader at the register, are expected to increase by 1,077% by 2015.
According to a study by Boston-based research firm Aite Group, “The gross dollar volume of U.S. mobile payments is estimated to grow 68 percent between 2010 and 2015, but the mobile payments will continue to represent only a ‘tiny portion’ of U.S. consumer spending for many years.”
Mobile payment is still in the testing phase in the United States, Canada, and other countries around the world.
Security is paramount. A new type of smartcard-based SIM is at the core of mobile payment security. It contains a small computer with its own software designed to protect the payment account information. Your credit card provider will make sure that mobile payment is fully secure, or it will not happen.