01.03.2014Personal Tech

Near Field Communication: What's it All About?

This is a guest post from Kevin Fetsch, retail sales rep in the Columbia, MO Verizon store.

Sometimes the world of smartphones can seem like an alphabet soup of acronyms. You have the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network, your SMS texting capability, a CDMA or GSM platform for your phone and more. Now, welcome to NFC.

NFC stands for “Near Field Communication.” It's a technology that allows two devices in close proximity to each other to share information wirelessly. In concept, it's similar to Bluetooth transmission of data or signals, but because it requires the “paired” devices to be close together, it actually adds a physical level of security.

Here's a short video demonstration I put together to give you a better idea of how Near Field Communication works:

Just to be clear, NFC is not an app. It’s a technology, and it is now being factory- installed in most Verizon Wireless Android-based smartphones as a feature. To find out if your smartphone is NFC compatible, simply go to the Settings section of your smartphone, and look under the heading “Wireless & Networks.” You may have to scroll down a bit to find it – but if your phone is outfitted with NFC technology, it will be listed. To turn it on, just tap the NFC box and you're ready to go.

With NFC enabled, you will now be able to share pictures, music, videos, Web pages and other data with other devices equipped with NFC.

Just hold the two devices together, back-to-back, and with a simple tap on your device, it will share the content displayed on your phone with the other device. Once you have shared content, the link between the two phones is broken to ensure that your phone does not continue to send additional, unintended data.

In addition to sending and sharing information, you can also read data stored on passive NFC chips. These chips can contain information such as store coupons, contact information and commands that automate different functions on your phone. You can find them embedded in in-store promotions, specially printed business cards and even around your own home.

For home use, you can buy blank NFC chips that are easily programmable from your smartphone that can help set alarms, set the mode on your phone or even change the appearance of your phone’s display. Samsung offers these “do-it-yourself” NFC chips under the brand name TecTile, along with a programming app available in the Google Play Store.

Want to use your cell phone to pay for purchases at your favorite store instead of a credit card? Now, through the power of NFC and Verizon Wireless – you can. A new product called the ISIS Mobile Wallet allows customers to securely upload account information from any Chase Bank or American Express credit account directly to their smartphones and pay for purchases without plastic.

Simply swipe your phone across NFC-equipped terminals in thousands of select stores across the country, tap your phone, and you’re done. For people with other types of credit or bank debit cards, you can establish an American Express Serve account and manage your NFC payments that way. It’s fast, easy and secure.

If you have questions or want to learn more about Near Field Communication, visit your local Verizon store and talk with one of our representatives.

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