Everything You Need to Know About NFC

By on April 22, 2011, 5:19 AM
Near Field Communication, or simply NFC, is shaping up to be one of the hottest tech trends of the next few years. Mobile payment systems backed by major financial institutions are either already being tested or in plans to start tests, while smartphones with built-in NFC chips are making their way into the U.S. and Europe. But beyond payments, NFC has the potential to reach many other industries, from location-based services to ticketing and public transportation.


Itís not too far-fetched to imagine a world where all we need to carry around with us is a single do-it-all device. NFC could allow our smartphone to pay for products, open doors, as well as act as our personal ID or a virtual ticket for transport and attractions. Say goodbye to your keys, wallet, cards and any extra weight in your pockets.

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User Comments: 30

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Lurker101 said:

And say hello to others being able to mug you from 20 feet away without you ever being aware of it

Scshadow said:

Because naturally, they haven't thought that through. And no, I doubt it. First off, NFC Wouldn't be like wireless, it won't be always on. Plus look at the pic. That isn't 20 feet away. Near field will basically be close enough to almost touch.

Placeholder Placeholder said:

Hello convenience, goodbye anonymity. This little dot on the digital globe is you. Here are all the things you have done since you got your NFC. Here is you making a comment.

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

Yeah, yeah... There are always pros and cons with new technology. But one should really think about it, even though we'll lose some anonymity, we'll gain an enormous increase in convenience. I say it's worth the price - all in all, it does help humanity evolve just a little bit further.

Guest said:

Cool! Just one thing to steal and I have your entire life and not just your wallet, keys, etc.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Lokalaskurar said:

Yeah, yeah... There are always pros and cons with new technology. But one should really think about it, even though we'll lose some anonymity, we'll gain an enormous increase in convenience. I say it's worth the price - all in all, it does help humanity evolve just a little bit further.

Kinda like Facebook. Pro - you get to reconnect with people you lost touch with. Con - everything you do on Facebook is sold to a third party. So while your phone company may be secure, the data they sell to some third party may not. So while my credit card company has not been hacked into to my knowledge, their vendors have.

Considering with all the crap that I do with my phone nowadays, from checking e-mail, to texting, to surfing the web, to listening to music, that I need to carry around a charger with me lest by 4 pm my phone dies, I really am not planning on putting all my eggs in one basket.

Someone could pickpocket you, use the NFC on their phone to steal all your data, and then tap you on the shoulder, and say, "your phone fell out of your pocket sir" and hand it back to you. Even if you suspect that this happened, how are you going to contact all your banks, change the lock on your house, etc etc before the people who just stole your data, which is now across the world, use it to their advantage?

Based on the egregious lapses of security that we've seen in the past decade, this is something I'm not going to be an early adopter of.

DokkRokken said:

I think I'll keep my keys, wallet, and cards, and stick with my flip-phone. The 'extra weight' is minimal.

Guest said:

Here in Hong Kong we have had NFC for many years and I use it every day to pay for transport and food. It's called Octopus and it works.

I even had a chip in a watch and paid for food at the supermarket with it (until the watch broke). It tops up automatically (max US$30 a day) from my credit card.

I love it.

No privacy issues, no security worries. no reliability problems (except the watch itself).

NFC may be the future for some countries but it's actually old news here.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

+1 Dok

I think humans in general are becoming lazier & fatter, hence, they don't want to do anything physical (well if someone is fat they'll struggle to do much anyway) and rely on such technology to do everything for them.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

No privacy issues, no security worries. no reliability problems (except the watch itself).

Please expand on that statement about no privacy issues.

According to whom exactly are there no privacy issues? Beijing?

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@gwailo247: Arguably speaking, your bank account numbers, phone number(s), even house/car locks would all be digital, it would not be hard to actually change them aside from the act of asking and confirming your identity to do so (possibly a hoop jump or two during the process).

Likewise, NFC at the banking level would likely have some kind of zero liability option/clause in the event of your mobile being compromised. However, I do understand the concern, which compared to some of the guests are actually throught through some. I'd be in the same boat as you, but probably a little more optimistic about it.

Guest said:

And big brother is not watching you enough already??? Question: Is there any difference among the following agendas of control: government, organized religion, multi-national corporations?

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

madboyv1 said:

@gwailo247: Arguably speaking, your bank account numbers, phone number(s), even house/car locks would all be digital, it would not be hard to actually change them aside from the act of asking and confirming your identity to do so (possibly a hoop jump or two during the process).

Likewise, NFC at the banking level would likely have some kind of zero liability option/clause in the event of your mobile being compromised. However, I do understand the concern, which compared to some of the guests are actually throught through some. I'd be in the same boat as you, but probably a little more optimistic about it.

I would probably feel more comfortable with a double blind system in which I could load up my NFC card with a pre-paid card that I pay cash for, rather than having it linked to my bank account or credit card. Speedpass has been around for ages at Mobil stations, but when you think about it, the act of swiping a card vs waving a keyfob saves you a couple of seconds.

Having all my groceries be scanned via RFID tags automatically as I pass the checkout at a store would be far more of a paradigm shift in ease of use than the few seconds I save by not swiping my card.

IMO in this battle of convenience vs security, security has been taking a lot of hits, to the point where I'm more concenred with security. But your point about being optimistic is certainly well taken, my employment history has usually exposed me to the darker side of human nature more than the lighter, so I tend to have a far more cycnical view of people than most. I tend to look at most things from the standpoint of how they can be exploited or circumvented rather than the advantages of them.

RaiDeR55 said:

I will wait till they get locked down better.. This tech is ok for the hackers of the world to get your info as stated above.If you are in a crowd waiting to get in somewhere.or crowded mall prime areas to steal your info.. They all ready can do your Credit cards

that you just wave across the device..So why not this NFC too..Be like a kid in a candy(Info) store.

doradhorror said:

I'm all for the future but I've also seen far too many sci-fi hacker movies. I'm certain at one point the encryption will be broken and chaos will ensue.

Guest said:

Saw this in use in Japan. Very nice. Easy to use and fast. Of course the crime rates are lower in Japan so people don't seem to be uncomfortable using them.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Please expand on that statement about no privacy issues.

According to whom exactly are there no privacy issues? Beijing?

+1 I guess privacy is relative eh?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Oh goody, the NSA wants to build a supercomputer, and the financial institutions want to eliminate physical currency! Aren't those both great ideas? Taken together, don't they represent one humongous great idea? Let's see a show of hands.

Guest said:

Skynet is waiting...

avoidz avoidz said:

People already talk hesitantly about having all their contacts and email on their cell phones; how's it going to be with all kinds of payments, key access codes, etc. on the one device as well? And I don't like the idea of charges being taken out of thin air from my wallet and bank accounts. It's giving too much control away for a little convenience.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Please stop worrying about big brother watching what you?re doing. For one simple reason? no one cares. The worst you?ll see is some targeted ads. I?m not worried about security either, my phone already has bank account login info on it and wi-fi/bluetooth turned on. Having a wireless technology that only works within inches doesn?t seem like an added risk.

What I?m worried about is this ?but beyond security concerns I wonder if I'll have to sleep on the porch in the event that my battery dies before coming home.? Before coming home? If your battery dies you?ll be locked out of your car, forget starting it and driving home.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Please stop worrying about big brother watching what you?re doing. For one simple reason? no one cares. The worst you?ll see is some targeted ads. I?m not worried about security either, my phone already has bank account login info on it and wi-fi/bluetooth turned on. Having a wireless technology that only works within inches doesn?t seem like an added risk.

What I?m worried about is this ?but beyond security concerns I wonder if I'll have to sleep on the porch in the event that my battery dies before coming home.? Before coming home? If your battery dies you?ll be locked out of your car, forget starting it and driving home.

Well, in prehistoric times people used keys to get into their car. And forget it if you don't charge your iPad and have Comcast! You won't be able to change the channels on your TV either. Just ask the "Glee Lady" in the X-Finity commercials. She says, "I can change the channels on my TV right from my iPad"! Luddites such as myself have to make do with the 10 dollar remote that came with the TV.

You will be sporting enough to let us know if your identity ever gets stolen, won't you?

I hope you won't be selfish enough to deny us the opportunity of rubbing your nose in this post.

Guest said:

Octopus in Hong Kong is 100% anonymous unless, like me, you CHOOSE to register it with your BANK so you can get the auto top up. Banks have privacy laws and having an Octopus doesn't mean they hold any more info about me anyway.

It records every transaction. I think this is an advantage for financial reasons. It doesn't record exactly what I bought, only the time, vendor and amount. Nor does it record it was me who bought something; only that the card was used.

I must admit I am very worried about the state knocking on my door in the middle of the night saying, "Hey, we noticed your card was used for a lot more buses this week, and what's with all the stuff at 7 / 11 and McDonald's - the card should be used more at the supermarket - it's healthier". Very scary no ?

I also have a smart card to get into the university offices which I am very pleased about as they are much easier than keys. This could be used to track my position but it's hardly a crime to spend 11 hours at work each day.

Some ppl here are paranoid. Too much TV. And others are just plain stupid and let Facebook and Twitter track their every movement - "hey, I'm not at home, come rob me".

With everything, there is a balance.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

+1 I guess privacy is relative eh?

As relative as using antivirus on a notebook in a glass house. Oppose to being in a lead box with no internet. Pick your horror?

Guest said:

I forgot to mention - my Yamaha also has nfc. It has a chip in the key that acts with the immobiliser so only the chipped key can start the motorcycle.

So that's 3 nfc devices that I use every day with no issues at all.

I think the suggestion that there will be one for everything is misleading and dumb. I already have 3 in daily use.

MilwaukeeMike said:

captaincranky said:

You will be sporting enough to let us know if your identity ever gets stolen, won't you?

I hope you won't be selfish enough to deny us the opportunity of rubbing your nose in this post.

haha, i'll let you know. My point wasn't that this was perfectly safe, i just don't see how it's any worse than the other wireless technologies that already work on my phone. neither do i understand how taking my phone out of my pocket is supposed to be that much easier than taking out my wallet. And until i can carry my driver's license in my phone, i'm bringing my wallet.

People always freak out about security on new technologies. Technology had absolutely nothing to do with the d-bag who stole my GPS outa my car (in my garage) last month.

Guest said:

My biggest concern is having all your eggs in one basket (for basket read smartphone) The flat battery is just one way of getting stuffed. How many phones get dropped, lost or, worst of all, stolen. If NFC takes off phone theft is likely to become a big issue.

High quality smartphone security software like that at http://loky.me takes on a much more important role.

Hasbean said:

Why bother with carrying the device. They should implant the chip into a part of your body that regularly make contact, like your ass. As soon as you sit down, caching, $5 debited. When the boss tells you to get your ass outa here. Simply press your posterior against the door handle. When the bank manager tells you you're an asswhole, time to curb the spending spree.

Guest said:

The problem is people don't understand Big Brother until it's too late. All these new technologies feels good to you all now. It's just to help you get comfortable for the RFID chip which will be implemented into your body. Yes, you will be tracked. No, you can't escape. Your government is always finding new ways and laws to take away every bit of freedom you have.

Once you realize it, you will want to fight back like people did in the '60s and '70s. People are too comfortable now. It will be much easier to control you to the point you can't every fight back, becoming a modern day slave.

Research the RFID chip, make a true decision on your life.

9/11 = Unlawful Airport Xray Scanning all in the name of 'Terrorism' propaganda to keep US citizens in fear. Airport Xray Scanning, if the tech existed, wouldn't have ever went down in the '70s. We aren't criminals.....yet

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5QtkfBS7cQ&feature=relat
d

See how easy people are in today's time to accept such nonsense?:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vb-FHOUZvN8&feature=relat
d

Think before you act

Guest said:

its ease of use, increasing convenience rather than enabling something new.............but my question is what is the global method of authentication.......suppose ur nfc device gets stolen.........

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