Near Field Communication (NFC)
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What is NFC?
NFC stands for “near field communication.” It’s the technology that allows smartphones and devices like payment readers to communicate, and it enables secure, contactless payments like Apple Pay or Google Pay—transactions that require no physical contact between the payment device and the payment reader.
The liability shift.
In October of 2015, payment network policy started requiring businesses and financial institutions in the U.S. to adopt more secure payment practices. This switch away from magnetic-stripe credit cards is also known as the liability shift.
Merchants who don’t accept secure payment types (like EMV or NFC) could be held liable for any fraudulent transactions that take place after the liability shift—rather than the cardholder or processing network.
With NFC, your card information is encrypted on your phone. Mobile payment solutions like Apple Pay and Google Pay use tokenization for heightened security. This means that in place of your actual card number, the retailer receives a one-time only number—never your actual card number. So if there’s security breach, your real card information remains secure.
Faster payments, too.
NFC is the fastest payment method that complies with the liability shift requirements. EMV or chip card transactions can take up to a minute to complete, whereas an NFC payment only takes a few seconds. For businesses, accepting NFC payments can speed up your line while protecting you and your customers from fraud.
Ready when you are
NFC functions on your phone activate only when you want them to (like when you’re checking out at an NFC terminal). When your phone is in standby, the NFC chip is also in standby. And if you’re using Apple Pay, a Touch ID is required to authenticate each payment.
Tap and go
If you see any of these symbols, that’s your signal to pay with your phone. Just tap your device to the payment terminal and you’re done. No need to sign or count change.