What You Need to Know About
Near Field Communication
Imagine this scenario: you board a public bus for the ride home and instead of paying your fare with money for a ticket, you simply swipe your phone over a “reader” device. You might have a similar experience paying for parking or buying a bag of chips at the local grocery store.

What ‘s taking place in each setting is a tiny chip in your phone is being activated and read by a “reader” that sends your data via encrypted transmission to a processing service which could be your phone carrier or credit card provider. The result is an instantaneous and hands-free method to pay for services or goods using your phone or other mobile device like a tablet or laptop.

How does it Work?
NFC is a wireless technology that allows devices to communicate data with each other over short distances, usually no more than 4cm. It can work with two mobile devices as well as between a handheld and a target device, such as a POS at the store or a sticker with an NFC chip embedded. The target device is in a passive state, requiring no energy source, waiting to be activated by another device that can generate a radio frequency field.
What is a Mobile Wallet and Who is Working on One?
The theory behind the mobile wallet is that your phone holds all the same information, in digital form, which your wallet currently holds. It not only replaces your debit and credit cards, but your loyalty cards, coupons, and receipts.

Most of the major players are working on incorporating NFC into their field. At the moment it seems to be lining up as the carriers vs platform providers vs financial institutions. Apple and Microsoft are both rumored to be adding the chip to their phones; though there are conflicting sources that say it will not be showing up in the iPhone 5, as Apple is concerned by the lack of a clear standard within the industry. When it does, no doubt the billing will go through iTunes. Google’s Android 2.3 already offers NFC support and the Nexus S comes equipped with the necessary hardware. They already have deals with Mastercard and Citigroup and seem to be moving faster than their competitors.

AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile have joined together to form Isis, a collaborative venture that includes several major banks. Barclaycard will be the first to issue customers with an Isis enabled bank account.

The banks likewise, are already working on their own mobile payment options and have even begun testing them in several major cities.

How Soon Will it Be Here?
Soon. Sprint is planning to launch its NFC enabled payment service in late 2011, while Isis is planning on 2012. Samsung and Visa have plans to introduce the Samsung Olympic and Paralympic Games handset at the 2012 Olympics. It will allow consumers at the Summer Games to make contactless payments at over 60,000 locations.

Isis has announced a pilot program in Salt Lake City in 2012 that will include local merchants as well as the Utah Transit Authority.

Wells Fargo is currently testing a pilot program in San Francisco, evaluating the technology in real-world environments. Bank of America, Chase and U.S. Bank also have trials going on.

Still though, America is playing catch-up to other parts of the world. NFC is common in Japan and South Korea and has been for awhile – phones function as both ID and wallet. They can pay for a variety of services, from transit and parking, to groceries and coffee shops.

How Secure is it?
The thought of a device that carries all of your personal and financial information is a bit daunting when you think about how vulnerable that device is to left or loss. The ability to remotely wipe your mobile devices already exists, which could be one solution to losing a phone. It could also be paired with biometric fingerprint scanning, prompting the user to verify their identity before allowing a transaction.

The other security issue is with the technology itself. The RFID components that NFC relies on have proven historically susceptibleto being cloned. Because of this, an entire industry of RFID shields has sprung up around it.

At the end of the day though, NFC is a game-changer and a multi-billion dollar industry for the major banks and providers. In order for it to work though, they need consumers to buy into it and no one is going to utilize a technology that leaves them vulnerable to identity theft. You can bet then, that they are investing a hefty amount of money into security research.

Should I Wait to Buy a Phone with NFC?
Not necessarily. They are already appearing in some phones, like the Nexus S and the Nokia Astound. With Android 2.3 supporting NFC it’s a sure bet that most, if not all, future Android devices will come with the chip.

There are other options as well, if you’re phone doesn’t ship with the chip. It can be integrated via the SD and SIM cards, which is what Bank of America is doing for its current trial in San Francisco. It can also be added into cases, for devices like the iPhone which does not support either SIM or SD cards.

What are Some Other
Ways It Can Be Used

The variety of uses for NFC is limited only by imagination at this point. Because of the way the technology works, the mobile device can act as a passive card in one instance and also as an active reader in another. For example, at the cinema you could swipe your phone to buy your ticket and popcorn; then while walking to the theater, see a poster for an upcoming movie and swipe your phone next to it as you pass, downloading a trailer and IMDB information. This ability to download information could replace both barcodes and QR codes.

You could also use it as a key, both for networks or computers, and for doors. Checking into a hotel could be as easy as registering online and downloading the keycode to your phone.

The peer-to-peer aspect shouldn’t be overlooked either. Two NFC-equipped smartphones can exchange any type of data or media.

And let’s not forget advertising – which is going to be even more effective/annoying, with the ability to receive targeted, location-based coupons and ads.

Whatever your technology needs, new or old, don’t forget to check out Retrevo, where you’ll find reviews and manuals for all popular gear and gadgets including cameras, HDTV, laptops and more.

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Rev says in the last days they can control who buys or sells. I wonder how they would be able to do that? Duh!!



Nokia Astound does not have NFC...

I can't find that anywhere in the specs online, either for the C7 or the Astound.

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What you need to know about Near Field Communication

Sounds like the banks want to CONTROL, PROFIT FROM and MONITOR ALL of our spending habits. With something like that, there wouldn't be any need for currency. There would be no unknown financial transactions, BIG BROTHER WOULD SEE AND KNOW EVERY MOVE YOU MAKE, in the beginning. Then it would spiral out of control and BIG BROTHER would not only see every transaction, but tell you WHAT, WHEN AND WHERE you can make purchases/transactions. Seems that BIG BROTHER AND BIG BUSINESS are working hand-in-hand to destroy the "AMERICA THE FREE" we've all grown up to know and love.

Are you kidding me? Where

Are you kidding me? Where you born, married, divorced here? Do you use a credit card, debit card, fill out a W-2, attend school, file taxes, own a car, own a drivers license, have a passport or own a house? If so then "Big Brother" knows everything about you anyway. This technology doesnt replace cash, for those of you that need to be top secret about your oh so important activities. However, this technology is lending nothing new to the so called "man and his establishment" that they do not already have on you.

Where? How about "here"

RFIDs are in credit cards already, and people are being robbed at gas stations; It happens in
dept. stores and elsewhere too..

Here in Hawaii, and I am sure elsewhere, individuals are seeing say, $300 show up on their cc's which they did not charge.
Standing nearby to you is someone with an ""RFID reader" who pulled sensitive info off your card AND the $300! Go online and
search for RFID blocking wallets; anyone see the story on CNN?