NFC Isn't Just About Payments

James Gray

October 26 2018

nfc payments

NFC (Near Field Communication) is most commonly known as a component of electronic payment systems. That is because whenever you insert your credit card into a card reader or tap your mobile device to make a payment, NFC technology is involved and promoted. But NFC isn't a "payment" technology. Rather, it is "a short-range wireless communication protocol that uses magnetic field induction to enable communication between devices when they are brought within very close proximity of each other.

As we've discussed before in the blog, the uses for this type of technology are almost endless. If you can tap your phone on a payment device to open your digital wallet and provide payment information, why wouldn't you tap to: learn more about a product in a store, or a piece of art that is for sale, or to quickly submit your name for a contest, or to record your presence at an event? In fact, NFC is currently being used in many ways other than payments and we feel this trend will continue. In our estimation, there are four key factors that we believe will drive the adoption of new use cases for NFC technology: The number of mobile devices with NFC technology built-in is increasing exponentially. In 2012, just over 50 million mobile devices worldwide had NFC capability. Today, that number stands at just under 2 billion! And the fact that enabling the use of the technology generally requires flipping a switch, there is very little friction when it comes to user adoption. People are using NFC for payments, so they are familiar with the concept and have NFC enabled on their devices. The dollar value of transactions in the US paid via NFC transactions is estimated to be just under $80 billion in 2018 and will grow to $189 billion by 2021. Mobile devices are an ever-growing part of our daily lives. We rely on them more and more to provide us with information and allow us to complete tasks. In 2012, the average time adults in the US spent with mobile media was 88 minutes. In 2018, it is projected to be 203. Consumers expect immediate and easy access to information and services. We are excited for the future of NFC in the US and look forward to watching how the boundless creativity of brands and individuals puts NFC to work!