What is an NFC Payment and How Can You Make One?

February 13, 2019

You may have heard of NFC payments before, you may have even read about them in one of our blogs, but are you fully educated on what they are? NFC payments are becoming increasingly common in the world of payments, and chances are you’ve probably made one yourself without even knowing! Thankfully, NFC payments are on the surface a fairly easy concept to grasp, even if the technology behind them isn’t.

What is NFC?

NFC stands for “Near Field Communication”, a technology that allows two pieces of technology to interact with one another without being plugged in to one another. This technology is reliant on encrypted data that is passed back and forth, and is only usable to the other connected device through certain keys and configurations. NFC technology is used in a number of different scenarios outside of just payments, such as though an application to share images or contact information between mobile phones or ticket checking when at events.

NFC Payments

NFC payments use NFC technology to transmit payment information from two enabled devices to authorize a payment; typically this is between debit and credit cards or digital wallets, and a payment terminal. Given that the two devices don’t actually have to touch to authorize a payment, NFC payments are also known as “contactless payments” or “tap payments”, as a reference to the action taking place. In Canada, most contactless payments are only possible for purchases under $100 regardless of the device being used, for a number of security reasons. As magnetic stripe payments are phased out of use, NFC payments will become an easy and fast way to purchase good and services.

How to Make an NFC Payment

Making an NFC payment couldn’t be simpler, and there’s a good chance you’ve already done it before. If you’re using a physical card, make sure to double check that your card has NFC functionality, as some older generations of cards don’t have it built in. If it does, tap the card on the top of an NFC enabled terminal, or hover it close, and the payment should begin processing. If you’re using an NFC enabled device, like a smart watch or mobile phone, make sure that the set up of your digital wallet is complete. If so, then the previous steps apply to you as well! Just remember that smart devices have a secondary level of authorization, so you’ll require a fingerprint or face scan to get your payment processing.

To learn more about mobile payments and digital wallets (which both use NFC), make sure to look at our blogs The Top 4 Most Popular Payment Apps and How Mobile Payments Actually Work.

The information in this article is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be legal, business or other professional advice or an endorsement of any of the websites or services listed. 

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