Have you ever seen that icon on your credit card with frequency wave-like lines, similar to the WiFi icon, but sideways? That means your card is enabled for NFC payment. But what exactly does that mean?

What is NFC?

Near Field Communication is a feature available on most modern phones. As the name suggests, NFC is a method of wireless data transfer. It detects and allows technology in the vicinity to share data without an internet connection.

nfc payments

How Does NFC Work?

NFC may power key cards or fobs, pet microchips, and even public transit cards.

NFC is more simple to use. It is a successor to radio frequency identification. The NFC chip in your card is part of a wireless link. It is activated by another chip. Once that happens, small bits of data flow between the two devices. The transfer occurs when your card is held an inch or less from the other chip.

Advantages of NFC

There’s a reason we’re seeing this technology more and more in our everyday lives.

As FIS.com notes, there are four main advantages of NFC payment.

NFC is easy

Using NFC is simple.

You don’t have to recall a passcode since it doesn’t require a pin. With near field communications, all you need to make a payment is to hold up your phone, your NFC-equipped card, key fob, or bracelet near the POS terminal and you’re done.

When compared to EMV cards that require entering the card, waiting, and typing in your pin code, NFC cards are a one-step, quick process.

NFC is fast

As consumers, we are attracted to businesses where we don’t have to wait.

Using NFC, your transaction takes a fraction of the time it would take to pay cash or with a traditional credit card. This is good news for both customers and businesses.

Transactions are faster with near-field communication. Checkout lines are shorter, fewer staff members are required and customers move through purchase and payment rapidly.

There’s nothing to remember

NFC works automatically. No pairing code is needed.

With NFC, the only thing you need to carry is your smartphone, card, or NFC-enabled item.

NFC is energy efficient

The chips in NFC require only minimal amounts of energy to link up.

These low or passive energy chips are much more power-efficient than other wireless communication.

NFC is physically safer

As we deal with COVID-19 and the spread of other viruses, people are more sensitive than ever when it comes to touching things.

Near-field communication is a safe, contactless payment option.

You simply hold the NFC chip near the terminal and the transaction is complete. Having a means of payment that does not involve human touch has been reassuring during these difficult times.

NFC is more secure

Many people fear that something as fast and easy as NFC isn’t as secure as requiring a PIN or a signature at payment. If customers don’t trust the payment option, they won’t use it.

NFC signals are encrypted and transmitted only in close proximity. Meaning, the signal can’t be hacked by someone who is even a few feet away.

Security protection built into smartphones makes NFC payments even more secure if the transaction is made not with a card but with your phone. Thus, using your phone as your NFC chip, there is an additional layer of security.

Issuers also place lower limits on NFC transactions (example $100 max) to protect against lost or stolen cards and fraudulent transaction attempts.  Some even allow you to freeze and unfreeze the NFC contactless payment option for additional security.

NFC increases customer satisfaction

Because transactions are faster, checkout lines are shorter. The result is increased customer satisfaction with the business. Ease of transaction makes customers happy. They will return to buy at this business. When they are assured NFC is a very secure way to pay it adds to customer satisfaction.

NFC encourages consumer spending

Since customers can check out faster because of tap and pay, those who might make a purchase are encouraged to do so. If there are long lineups at the movies, the grocery store, a  restaurant, a gas station, or the bookstore, potential buyers will abandon their goods and leave.

NFC payment translates to a pleasant business experience. Happier customers and more efficient operations are what make buyers purchase and return to buy again. Be careful not to let your spending get out of control, though!

NFC is easy to implement

More businesses are starting to implement near-field communication as well as NFC-enabled payment terminals. Most new payment equipment now contains near-field communication technology. Setup is instantaneous.

tap and pay

Disadvantages of NFC

Livewire writer Priya Viswanathan points out that although there are many advantages to NFC, there is a downside.

For some businesses, implementing NFC technology may be just too expensive. Large retailers can afford the hardware and software upgrades. Some stores and shops may take a longer time to acquire new devices.

As with any change, there is a level of mistrust until consumers are assured NFC is safe and easy.

How do NFC and EMV Differ?

EMV means Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (the 1994 founders) and commonly refers to the smart chip in debit and credit cards. EMV uses a chip embedded in a card instead of a magnetic strip. Chances are you’ve probably seen it being implemented on newer cards. The EMV chip is much more secure than the magnetic strip.

NFC chip stands for near field communication technology and is typically embedded inside debit and credit cards, smartphones, or smartwatches. This chip allows data to be read by a POS terminal without inserting your card creating a contactless payment. You simply hold the NFC enabled item near the terminal and boom, payment accepted. No pin, no swipe.

The NFC “card” might not be a card at all. It could also be a key fob, a bracelet,  a phone, a watch, or any other object a chip can be inserted in.

Many businesses have machines that can accept both EMV or NFC. However, some transaction terminals may take only one payment option.

Examples of NFC Payments

Welcome to the world of touchless technology. Wherever there is a POS terminal that accepts NFC transactions, you can tap and pay.

This might include a restaurant, a coffee shop, a taxi or subway ride, buying a concert ticket, or getting refreshments for that concert.

You can pay a toll, purchase a subway ticket, pay for coffee, or get snacks from a vending machine all with a contactless tap.

nfc chip

Why Choose Marygold & Co.?

Marygold & Co. provides you with NFC Mastercard* debit cards to enable contactless payment.  Additionally, our app enables contactless payments from your Android phone, and clients have access to NFC-enabled key fobs and silicone bracelets. Support for Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay wallets are also coming in late Spring of 2021.

We have gone to great lengths to ensure customer security is the priority for contactless payment cards.

  • Lower limits are set on purchases and
  • New technology also allows you to freeze your NFC chip. You can unfreeze it at any time.
  • You can also lower or raise the purchase maximums whenever you wish for the NFC-equipped card, bracelet, key fob, watch, or smartphone.

As part of our customer service plan, Marygold & Co. cards have both NFC and EMV capabilities.

 

*Marygold & Co. Bank Accounts and Debit Card are provided by LendingClub Bank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to license from Mastercard International. Deposits insured by the FDIC up to the allowable limit.