Talk about NFC (Near Field Communication) Devices replacing your credit cards has been going for many years now. The concept is easy – The idea is that you can effectively make payments at any register simply by swiping your phone over a scanner. The NFC chip within the phone and the register scanner communicate with each other and the monetary transaction takes place.
The reason why this has not become mainstream yet is that it is still a developing technology. Whilst the concept has been around for years, the hardware and software has not been readily available. Very few phones actually support NFC at present, however, this is likely to change in the near future. Apple and Google (not to mention many others) have seen NFC payments as one of the next major revolutions in mobile computing and are heavily investing in this arena.
Whilst all this is looming on the horizon, it can quite easily be seen as still a fair way off. Not only do the software and hardware manufacturers have to overcome the hardware and software obstacles but consumer confidence in NFC technology still has to mount. Will users be confident in carrying around their phone which has effectively become a very large wad of cash? What are the security concerns in doing so? Will the technology be reliable? I would suggest time will tell, but make no mistake about it, this technology is coming and it’s highly likely to revolutionise the way we handle our money.
I’d also go out on a limb so far to say that any company who nails this technology on the head (Apple and Google are frontrunners) will no doubt evolve into the next major payment network/gateways of the future. Perhaps one day we may even see the evolution of an Apple iBank or Google Bank down the track? Who knows? Let’s wait and see.
UPDATE 21/09/2011: Google have released their NFC enabled Google Wallet
It appears Google has partnered with Citibank/MasterCard and have released the NFC enabled Google wallet in the US only at this stage. Interesting times. For more information, check out the video below