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About Smart Cards : Applications : NFC

NFC Resources

NFC technology is a standards-based wireless communication technology that allows data to be exchanged between devices that are a few centimeters apart. NFC operates at 13.56 MHz and transfers data at up to 424 Kbits/second.

NFC is distinguished by its intuitive interface and its ability to enable largely proprietary wireless networking platforms to interoperate in a seamless manner. The primary uses are to:

  • Connect electronic devices, such as wireless components in a home office system or a headset with a mobile phone
  • Access digital content, using a wireless device such as a cell phone to read a “smart” poster embedded with an RF tag
  • Make contactless transactions, including those for payment, access and ticketing

NFC-enabled mobile applications include:

  • Making payments with a wave or a touch anywhere contactless card readers have been deployed
  • Reading information and “picking up” special offers, coupons and discounts from smart posters or smart billboards
  • Storing tickets to access transportation gates, parking garages or get into events
  • Storing personal information that will allow secure building access

When used for mobile contactless payment, NFC-enabled mobile phones incorporate smart chips (called secure elements) that allow the phones to securely store the payment application and consumer account information and to use the information as a “virtual payment card.” NFC payment transactions between a mobile phone and a POS terminal use the standard ISO/IEC 14443 communication protocol currently used by EMV and U.S. contactless credit and debit cards.

NFC-enabled mobile phones can also be used for chip-enabled mobile marketing applications – coupons, loyalty programs and other marketing offers that can add significant value for merchants, issuers and the mobile ecosystem.

NFC will soon be available as standard functionality in many mobile phones and will allow consumers to perform safe contactless transactions, access digital content, and connect electronic devices simply. An NFC chip in a mobile device can act as a card or a reader or both, enabling consumer devices to share information and to make secure payments quickly.

Smart Card Alliance Resources on NFC and Mobile Payments

Smart Card Alliance Resources on Contactless and Transit Payments

Additional white papers and presentations can be found on the Transportation Council web pages.

Industry Organizations

The NFC Forum is the industry association that develops specifications and does educational outreach about NFC technology.

The following organizations are involved in establishing standards/specifications or in defining business processes and practices for mobile technology and mobile payments.

Other Industry Resources

NFC: Recent News


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