How will NFC change the mobile wallet?

NFC is an acronym for near field communication, a wireless technology that allows devices to talk to each other. In the case of a mobile wallet application, those devices would be a mobile phone and a point of sale device at a checkout counter.

USA Today reports that the number of NFC handsets is set to increase from about 34 million this year to about 80 million next year. Gartner estimates that growth in handsets will exceed 100 million in 2012, and that that 50% of smartphones will have NFC capability by 2015.

The short list of big players, which includes Google, Citibank, MasterCard, Gemalto, First Data, VeriFone, Samsung, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and  Isis, are all deploying some version of a mobile wallet. Isis’s website promises, “Mobile wallet will eliminate the need to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets, and transit passes, fundamentally changing how you shop, pay, and save. All with your phone.” And all powered by NFC.

NFC can also be used to connect online gamers. Within social networking websites, NFC can facilitate the distribution of coupons that can be scanned at in-store terminals.

Soon, we will see online retailers embrace the potential benefits of NFC in order to create effective loyalty programs, supported by online advertising and social media campaigns

With full deployment, near field communication will make every day transactions incredibly convenient. If you think your cell phone is your everything today, wait until you see what’s coming next!

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto. Disclosures

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