NFC 101: An Intro to the Tech Behind the Tap

Jillian MacNulty Picture

by Jillian MacNulty | Last Updated: Sep 11, 2017

When it comes to cooking, I’m pretty impulsive. It’s not unusual for me to get a craving for a specific meal and bike to the store almost nightly to pick up the ingredients I need. I grab my house keys and my phone, pedal my way to the store, pick up an armful of fresh produce, and hop in the checkout line. I watch the woman in front of me juggle her wallet, phone, and keys in one hand while swiping her credit card with the other hand, struggling to slide the card back into her wallet while being handed her receipt. When it's my turn to pay, I slide my phone out of my back pocket, tap it to the card reader, feel a slight buzz, and hear the register attendant say “You’re all set!”. It’s commonplace nowadays for grocery stores to facilitate cardless payment options like Apple Pay or Android Pay, and I can speak from firsthand experience when I say that it is by far the most seamless method of payment out there. But how much do you know about the powerful technology behind that simple “tap”? And what are the use cases beyond mobile payment? We’ve got all that and more covered in our infographic, Getting Started with NFC.

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