NFC in the UK

NFC (Near field communication) allows for simplified wireless transactions between two devices in close proximity. It has taken place in the US where consumers use this technology to make payments by smartphones. The smartphone contains an embedded NFC chip that sends encrypted data to a reader i.e. cash register over a short distance. Consumers that have their credit card information stored in their NFC smartphone can pay for products by waving the smartphone or tapping it on a reader. This allows for transactions to occur without the need for one to carry a credit card or cash.  Imagine tapping two smartphones and transferring money from one individuals’ account to another!


Google introduced Google Wallet that basically makes your smartphone into a wallet; tap your phone to pay with the virtual credit cards stored on your Google Wallet. For now, Google has partnered with Sprint, a US carrier, and only works with the Google Nexus S smartphone. Apart from using your handset to make these transactions, the Wallet offers features that give you location-based deals on items that you normally buy.


Google states that by 2014 over half of all smartphones will contain NFC capability. Wallet will support multiple credit card support and will keep your card details private and any transaction over £100 requires a pin just like a credit card. Beyond that, though, there will be a Google card that you can recharge from any other. At launch, only a MasterCard from Citibank will work, apart from the Google card, but there are plans to have more in the future.

Visa has also announced its partnership with Google Wallet giving card users access to the new NFC payment system. Just as MasterCard, the licencing agreement will allow Visa users to link their credit and debit cards to Google Wallet offering fast mobile payments.


It won’t be long before this technology hits the UK and it would be interesting to see how the public react to it, taking into consideration that online hacking and identity theft is a major concern.

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