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NFC Forum Releases Payment Spec as Alternative to QR Codes in China
Association members are now reviewing the NFC Money Transfer Candidate Specification before it is released for use by financial service providers to enable NFC payments with phones at Chinese merchants.
Mar 05, 2019—
The NFC Forum has released a new money-transfer specification candidate for Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. According to the industry organization, the new spec is intended to enable the kinds of contactless-payment solutions now being offered in China and Japan via QR codes.
The NFC Money Transfer Candidate Specification (NMT) will enable financial service providers to create NFC-based applications for money transfers that can be conducted by tapping an NFC-enabled mobile phone against a reader or another smartphone. The system offers an alternative to the QR code-based payment method that has grown in popularity in China, says Paula Hunter, an executive director at the NFC Forum. The association has been developing specifications to ensure interoperability between devices and among services since 2004.
Payment service providers such as WePay and AliPay filled the gap in that part of Asia with QR code scanning-based apps. Consumers can use these contactless payments at convenience stores and other locations to make fast, low-value purchases. Users can download the payment app, provide payment information that can be loaded onto their phone, and subsequently hold the phone over a merchant's point-of-sale (POS) terminal when purchasing products. The terminal's camera scans a QR code on the phone, thereby authorizing the transaction. An alternative approach involves having the phone's camera scan a QR code at the POS terminal in order to accomplish the sales transaction.
Recently, NFC Forum members that sell products in China have expressed an interest in a specification that could enable NFC payments as an alternative to QR codes in that nation. "This really came to us from some member companies that were looking at what was happening with China and Japan with people communicating with QR codes to make payments," Hunter states, "and they thought 'Why can't we take advantage of NFC technology to transmit the same information, and more securely?'"
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