Merchants and consumers have both been hearing a new way to make payments quickly, easily and securely using Smartphones and a technology called NFC or Near Field Communications.
NFC enables communication between radio-enabled devices that are in close proximity to one another typically within a few inches of each other.
NFC uses very little power and is embedded in most smart phones other than the Apple iPhone, which makes it ideal for devices that run on batteries or that have no power source of their own. Currently 1 in 5 smartphones are NFC ready.
Unlike Bluetooth devices, NFC requires no pairing so it can connect and process in as little as 1/10 of a second. This lightning fast processing makes it suitable for frequent transactions and transactions that are relatively unpredictable such as consumer spending.
NFC has three standard ways that they operate, but to a merchant the Card Emulation mode is the most useful. Card emulation means that the phone can function as a contactless credit card or payment card. You may have seen the commercials where payments are accepted when a phone is tapped onto a credit card terminal.
There are currently hundreds of thousands of MasterCard PayPass and Visa PayWave terminals capable of accepting NFC payments, and these companies have approved many Smartphone models to use them, making NFC a great option for convenience and safety for your customers.
Using NFC for payments is actually more secure in some ways than using physical credit cards. For example, the device never leaves the consumer’s hand so unlike a credit card, it can’t be easily misplaced or forgotten. Also, since the device must be extremely close to the device to work, there is little danger of signal interception or PIN compromise. The payment systems have built in safeguards that prevent double billing, to reassure consumers of their safety.
NFC payments also process much faster than traditional credit card swipes because of the fast transmission speed and because consumers don’t need to sign or enter a PIN. There is no need to print paper receipts so merchants don’t have to stock spare tape or hold up consumers to change tapes when the spool runs out. There is no need to touch cash, which eliminates counting errors or pilferage. The equipment rarely fails because neither consumers nor checkers need to touch it on a regular basis.
Most payment companies, including MasterCard and Visa, offer the merchant and the consumer the same safeguards and guarantees that they offer for card transactions, and the cost per payment is often less than for card swipes.
With speed, security and low cost as core attributes, it makes sense to offer NFC as a payment option. The AppStar system including our state-of-the-art emv90x terminal complies with Visa’s Technology Innovation Program (TIP) by supporting both contact and contactless chip acceptance including mobile contactless payments based on NFC technology. Please contact us to find out more information.