Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is a standards-based wireless communication technology that allows data to be exchanged between devices that are a few centimeters apart. NFC operates at 13.56 MHz and transfers data at up to 424 Kbits/seconds.
NFC is distinguished by its intuitive interface and its ability to enable largely proprietary wireless networking platforms to interoperate in a seamless manner. The primary uses are to:
- Connect electronic devices, such as wireless components in a home office system or a headset with a mobile phone
- Access digital content, using a wireless device such as a cell phone to read a “smart” poster embedded with an RF tag
- Make contactless transactions, including those for payment, access and ticketing
NFC-enabled mobile applications include:
- Making payments with a wave or a touch anywhere contactless card readers have been deployed
- Reading information and “picking up” special offers, coupons and discounts from smart posters or smart billboards
- Storing tickets to access transportation gates, parking garages or get into events
- Storing personal information that will allow secure building access
When used for contactless payment, NFC-enabled mobile phones incorporate smart chips (called secure elements) that allow the phones to securely store and use the payment application and consumer account information. Contactless transactions between an NFC-enabled mobile phone and a POS terminal use the standard ISO/IEC 14443 communication protocol currently used by EMV contactless credit and debit chip cards.
NFC-enabled mobile phones can also be used for a wide variety of other applications including chip-enabled mobile marketing (e.g., coupons, loyalty programs and other marketing offers), identity and access, ticketing and gaming.
NFC is available as standard functionality in many mobile phones and allows consumers to perform safe contactless transactions, access digital content, and connect electronic devices simply. An NFC chip in a mobile device can act as a card or a reader or both, enabling consumer devices to share information and to make secure payments quickly.
Secure Technology Alliance Resources on NFC
- Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 101: A Technology Primer with Example Use Cases
- The Changing U.S. Payments Landscape: Impact on Payment Transactions at Physical Stores
- Chip-Enabled Mobile Marketing white paper
- Host Card Emulation (HCE) 101
- Host Card Emulation: An Emerging Architecture for NFC Applications webinar
- Mobile/NFC Security Fundamentals webinar series recordings
- Mobile and Contactless Payments Requirements and Interactions
- Mobile and Digital Wallets: U.S. Landscape and Strategic Considerations for Merchants and Financial Institutions
- Mobile and NFC Standards Landscape
- Mobile Devices and Identity Applications
- Mobile Identity Authentication
- The Mobile Payments and NFC Landscape: A U.S. Perspective
- NFC Application Ecosystems Webinar Series recordings
- NFC Frequently Asked Questions
- NFC Non-Payments Use Cases
- Security of Proximity Mobile Payments
- Secure Technology Alliance Mobile Council
- Secure Technology Alliance Payments Council
- Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) 101: A Primer
The NFC Forum is the industry association that develops specifications and does educational outreach about NFC technology.
The following organizations are involved in establishing standards/specifications or in defining business processes and practices for mobile technology and mobile payments.