What is NFC?

NFC stands for near-field communication. It is a technology that enables contactless payments and allows phones, laptops or other devices to share data with other NFC-equipped devices easily. Do you think it is a newly launched technology? No, this technology was built in most devices and you’ve been using it without realizing it. In addition, NFC makes the tap-and-go services possible, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and SAMSUNG Pay. Users can enable their debit card or credit card on their Apple or SAMSUNG account and make a cashless payment wherever they go.

The use of NFC doesn’t need an internet connection and it works fast and easy to use. NFC does not only enables a fast and secure payment procedure. However, it can use to transfer images, videos and contact information between NFC-enabled devices. It is useful when you don’t have an internet connection.


How does it work?

NFC tech has been evolved from radio frequency identification (RFID) tech. It is a technology that identifies things through radio wave for close-range communications. For instance, RFID is behind the scan machine which you need to scan before entering the office.

When you have NFC, you can transfer anything much more ever than before. Do you still remember how you transfer files to another mobile device? You may need to wait for so long with just to send a single file. However, NFC took over with greater speed, so you can send more files in a short period of time.

Besides, NFC technology requires two NFC enabled devices to transmit and receive the information which may be active or passive. It can work either in one-way communication or two-way communication. For instance, NFC tag is a passive device that only can transmit the data that other devices can read, but it isn’t able to read any information itself. While an active device like a mobile device can read information and exchange information with other compatible devices.


NFC vs Bluetooth

bluetooth versus nfc
Credits: endivesoftware


Bluetooth has been widely available for many years before NFC. You can find out that your smartphone has both Bluetooth and NFC features. Which one should you use? Aren’t they having the same features?

Bluetooth and NFC have several technical differences. You can differentiate it with the table shown below:

Bluetooth NFC
Data transfer Wirelessly over radio waves Wirelessly over radio waves
Speed Slower sending speed using frequencies Faster sending speed using electrical currents
Range Further working distance up to several metres Shorter working distance up to 10cm only
Customer experiences Configuration needed Touch, wave, simply connect
Power Large power consumption Less power consumption


Why NFC is fast? NFC doesn’t require any pairing processes like Bluetooth to transfer data. NFC works within a specific range between devices and it is limited to communication within a four-inch range. You have to hold your phone close to the contactless reader if you’re making payment.

Three main modes of NFC devices:

  • Reader/writer (Read tags in NFC posters)
  • Card emulation (Payments)
  • Peer-to-peer (File transfer)