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An iPhone With NFC—at Last!

The addition of Near-Field Communication technology to the popular mobile phone will increase contactless payments and open the door to many new applications.
By Mark Roberti
Sep 15, 2014

Perhaps it didn't make the biggest splash at the Sept. 9 introduction of Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+, and Apple Watch, but the addition of Near-Field Communication (NFC) to all three products is a big deal. It's big not just for the RFID industry, but for marketers, retailers and others.

NFC, for those of you who don't know, is a form of passive high-frequency (HF) radio frequency identification. It's been used in many Android phones for several years. There were rumors that the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S would have it, but that didn't happen.

Apple never introduces technology. It introduces whole products or applications (a lesson for RFID companies). My belief, this time last year, was that Apple was trying to work out deals with banks and credit card companies so the NFC technology could be used broadly for payments when it was introduced.

Sure enough, Apple announced not just the addition of NFC in the iPhone 6 but also a new digital wallet—dubbed ApplePay. The wallet can be accessed securely using the fingerprint-recognition technology introduced in the iPhone 5S, to ensure that no one can find your phone and go on a spending spree.

Apple also announced that it has partnered with American Express, MasterCard and Visa, along with several banks that issue those cards, to allow iPhone users to store their credit card accounts in ApplePay. That means if you have one of those cards from one of the issuing banks, you will be able to use ApplePay at some 220,000 merchant locations in the United States that already take mobile payments via NFC.


Martin Cox 2014-09-16 05:43:18 AM
Would be nice but right now Apple has the NFC functionality locked down for ApplePay only. There's no API to give access to the NFC controller, only to integrate the Apple pay button into merchant mobile apps to receive eCommerce payments.

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