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It’s more than the wallet-killer: Everything you need to know about NFC


NFC is now mainstream. The number of tablets and smartphones with NFC technology is growing fast, but so are the questions surrounding it. You’ve probably heard about Apple Pay, the digital wallet for the iPhone, Apple Watch, and other Apple products that is making its way into hundreds of thousands of stores and online retailers. But you may not know what NFC is, the uses for it, or why we should actually care.

The fact is, NFC is more than a wallet replacement. There’s nearly endless potential when NFC chips are involved. This guide to NFC chips will help answer your NFC related questions.

What is NFC?

NFC stands for Near-Field Communication and allows phones, tablets, and laptops to share data with other NFC-equipped devices. The technology evolved from radio-frequency identification (RFID) tech. RFID is behind those security scan cards that get you into the office every day or bypass that tollbooth on your morning commute.

NFC is very much like RFID, but NFC is limited to communication within about four inches, which is why you have to hold your phone so close to the contactless reader if you’re using Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. Most people consider NFC’s small radius a major security benefit and it’s one of the reasons that NFC is taking off as a secure alternative to credit cards. The technology can be used for more than making purchases at Bloomingdales, however. NFC can transfer data like videos, contact information, and photos between two NFC-enabled devices.

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