What is NFC? Everything you need to know about how it works

 Almost all smartphones and smartwatches have NFC technology, whether you realize it or not, your phone's NFC scanner is probably active right now.

What is NFC?

And you don't have to worry because your phone's NFC chip is a passive scanner that doesn't do anything until you hold it a few inches from another NFC tag or device.

Like many features of your smartphone, it sits quietly in the background until you need it, but it can also be used to unlock a wide range of cool features that can make your life easier.

If you've used Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay before, you've already used the NFC feature on your phone. However, NFC can do more than just manage mobile payments.

What is NFC technology and how does it work?

NFC, short for Close to Handle Correspondence, is an innovation that permits gadgets like telephones and smartwatches to trade little pieces of information with different gadgets and read NFC-prepared cards over generally brief distances.

The technology used in NFC is very similar to radio frequency identification (RFID) commonly used in the security cards and key fobs you already use to gain access to your office or gym.

NFC is a development of RFID that offers further developed highlights and better security, however, the two advances actually share a ton in like manner.

Plus, NFC doesn't force you to deviate from the steps you might be used to with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi devices.

There are no manual steps for pairing, device discovery, or password to manage.

All you need to do is place your smartphone about four inches from another NFC device; He should spot it instantly and be ready to go.

What can NFC do on my phone?

Likewise with most new advancements, there were numerous early utilizations of NFC that never truly got on.

For example, Google created Android Beam for the purpose of exchanging data between smartphones.

However, the company quickly discovered that most people don't want to hold their phone for the time it takes to transfer photos and videos over a relatively slow NFC connection.

It was replaced by Fast Share, later renamed to Close, to take advantage of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which provide better range and faster transfer speeds.

Once the initial enthusiasm for integrating NFC technology into smartphones died down a bit, companies began to focus on the more practical applications for which this contactless technology was best suited. For example, payment cards and security tags have already been using RFID for years, and because NFC was built on the same foundation, it has proven to be well suited for integrating these features into smartphones and connected watches.

Mobile payments

It's no surprise that the most common use of NFC is for mobile payment when most countries in Europe and Canada were already using physical contactless payment cards, but the idea didn't catch on. It wasn't widely used in the US at first, but when Apple introduced Apple Pay in 2014, many saw the technology as groundbreaking.

Google's mobile payment solution was predated by Apple by two years, but the iPhone maker has placed much more emphasis on bringing Apple Pay to market and signing on banks and credit card companies.

What's more, the outcome was that versatile installments began to truly take off.

Even in countries where contactless cards are already the norm, Apple Pay and Google Pay offer something that physical cards cannot:

Better security and privacy

While anyone who gets their hands on your physical credit or debit card can use it as easily as possible, a mobile payment card requires your smartphone to be unlocked before you can use it.

This usually means entering your password or using the fingerprint reader or facial recognition features.

It has also allowed merchants and banks to remove transaction caps for authenticated mobile payments, as there is less risk of fraud than with a stolen credit or debit card.

Versatile installments work from any cutting edge cell phone that upholds Apple Wallet, Google Wallet or Samsung Pay, as well as any Apple Watch and many Wear operating system smartwatches.

Apple has introduced mobile payments with NFC technology in its wearable devices since the release of the first Apple Watch in 2015.

Simply hold your phone or look at it near the payment terminal and confirm the transaction by following the on-screen instructions.

Smartphones will ask you to authenticate using a password or a biometric feature; Smartwatches usually don't require this extra step because they can detect that you're still wearing your watch, furthermore, it will currently be opened whenever you first wear it.

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