NFC Readers & Mobile Wallet– What’s the Fuss?

"One day, we'll all be paying for things with our phones, and NFC is the ticket to that future." - Sharon Profis

One of the most exciting developments in the payments ecosystem is the introduction of Near-Field Communication (NFC), which enables smartphones to quickly and securely communicate payment information with other phones and point-of-sale devices.

How NFC Works

In short, NFC is a chip in a phone that talks to payment terminals – taking the place of physical credit cards at the POS. To complete an in-person transaction, the customer simply holds the phone within a couple of inches of the terminal’s NFC reader.

Hardware options for accepting NFC continue to grow, with solutions like the Ingenico ICT250 that accepts NFC and EMV transactions, and PIN-pad peripherals that can be used with Electric Cash Registers (ECRs) once POS software is enabled for NFC payment acceptance. Merchants using NFC-enabled terminals may consider adding PIN-pad peripherals that can be handed to consumers to complete an NFC initiated payment.

Benefits of Accepting NFC Transactions

NFC is versatile and ideally suited to the broadest range of industries, environments and uses, so the big question is: What can NFC do for your business? Here are just a few of the key benefits:

Consumer Demand

  • NFC is easy to use, requiring no more than a simple touch.
  • The demand is coming: 2.8 billion NFC payment transactions worldwide are projected by 2017, according to Gartner.

Convenience

  • Most consumers rarely leave the house without their smartphones. With this payment system, everything they need to make a payment is with them at all times.
  • NFC reduces the time of each transaction, cutting down the time a customer has to wait in line ─ and the time customers spend at the register. For businesses with few employees, this can be the difference between quickly serving a long line versus watching disgruntled customers leave before making a purchase to avoid long waits.

Security

  • NFC technology has built-in capabilities to support secure applications, and NFC transmissions are short- range ─ from a touch to a few centimeters. With solutions like Apple Pay™, security concerns have been addressed further, as sensitive payment information is securely stored on a mobile phone with the assistance of smart chip technology.
  • This safeguard is tamper-proof and protected by a unique digital signature. Apple Pay secures the process with a physical chip. Each time a transaction occurs, a random, one-time use code is used instead of transmitting the user's debit or credit card number.

Changing the Payments Landscape

NFC is expected to become as commonplace as WiFi and GPS. According to market research firm IHS iSuppli, the number of NFC-enabled phones and mobile wallets is expected to keep growing this year ─ reaching around 550 million devices.

If you are not already equipped to accept NFC transactions, now is a great time to update. With EMV requirements looming, consider updating your system to accept both NFC and EMV together. Your merchant service provider can walk you through all the options available to find the solution that works best for your business model.

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