As wireless technologies continue to improve our daily lives with things such as Bluetooth for entertainment, Wi-Fi for computers and NFC payment platforms for convenience, a complete transition to the Internet of Things moves closer and transactions in stores and online become easier than ever.
There are many ways to pay in a modern store including the traditional EMV chips, NFC, and cryptocurrencies, all of which are becoming more popular as alternative payment methods as we move closer to a cashless society.
What Is NFC?
You might be wondering, “what are NFC payments?” NFC means Near Field Communication and refers to the passing of data between two compatible devices. Contactless cards are a good example of NFC technology, where instead of inserting an EMV card into a card reader and entering a PIN, you can hover the NFC-enabled card next to the reader in order to authorize a payment.
Most banks issue EMV NFC cards as standard these days as NFC becomes more popular, especially during the pandemic where minimal touching of things is required. NFC is also more secure since it requires very close contact, can provide encryption and money comes from an e-wallet rather than directly from your bank account but can be linked to it.
While EMV is the most popular way to pay these days, NFC is becoming more popular as a choice among the younger generation who prefer to use NFC payments on their smartphones via platforms such as:
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
PayPal has been around for a while as a trusted solution while Apple and Google are fairly new to the game with their device-specific payment apps.
One of the first online payment solutions, PayPal was a secure way to pay online using an e-wallet to which you added funds. As smartphone NFC payments became more popular, it was a logical next step for PayPal to add the functionality to their system.
However, despite PayPal being one of the most widely known and most used online payment systems, their NFC platform hasn’t become as popular, mostly due to the complex fees system that PayPal incorporates into almost all of their transactions and PayPal’s surprising lack of full support for NFC standards to date.
The tech giant includes its own NFC payment system on many of its Android operating systems and is widely accepted by many retailers. Google Pay includes strict security measures in their payment solution that includes encryption and obscured numbers for linked credit and debit cards. However, person-to-person payments require a completely different app which makes Google Pay a little bit of a let-down when it comes to looking for a complete solution.
Many of the largest banks are supported by Google Pay which makes it a popular choice for many people looking to use NFC payments through their mobile phone and with Android holding an 85% market share of the mobile phone market means that Google Pay could be a contender for even NFC cards as the technology becomes more popular.
With Apple looking to make their devices do almost everything, it was inevitable that they would move into the NFC payment market sooner or later. Provided as standard in all Apple smartphones, Apple Pay is a complete and secure NFC payment package.
Apple Pay supports linking to all major banks and provides many layers of security including 2 Factor Authentication, Touch ID, and Face ID. A major feature is that transferring money between two Apple users can be done effortlessly using iMessage and Siri via the use of e-wallets and Apple pay is accepted at some of the largest retail chains such as McDonald’s and Walmart.