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Near field communication (NFC)

The future of payments technology is here.

Near Field Communication (NFC)

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.

Safer payments
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.


“I want technology to enhance the guest experience. Its role is to strip away barriers and make the experience better.”

JAMES FREEMAN, BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE

Accept every payment that comes across your counter.

We built our new Square Reader so every business in the neighborhood could accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, and chip cards—because we believe everyone deserves faster, more secure transactions.

  • Made for NFC and chip cards

  • Pocket-size and powerful

  • Works with the free Square app

  • Magstripe reader included in the box

Related articles

Keep up to date with payment technology news.

NFC Guide: All You Need to Know About Near Field Communication

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What Consumers Think About Chip Cards and Mobile Payments

Chip Card vs. Magstripe

Why is EMV more Secure?

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Join the future of payments.