Ever since the launch of Apple’s new Apple Pay for new iPhone 6 users, which features a fingerprint sensor, blogs have lit up with talk about the technology used for the service which, for years, has been on Android devices but never quite been taken advantage of like this until now by Apple.
We’re talking about ‘near-field communication’ aka ‘NFC,’ which has for years already been on chips in Android devices as well as Blackberry smartphones.
Although the technology is quite simple – its a short-range, low-powered wireless communication that can transfer small amounts of data between two devices held close together.
Sounds familiar? You’ve probably used bluetooth before on your smartphone to transfer music (songs) and other files with friends or utilized it on other devices. Bluetooth uses NFC technology.
Now that we’ve established that the technology has been around for some time now, here’s the point – not until Apple’s Apple Pay program has NFC been used to ‘step up the game’ of the payment industry.
NFC payment systems gave users the ability to make payments at NFC-enabled payment locations but required users to enter a password or security code and, to say the least, that was an inconvenience.
Leave it up to Apple to ‘step it up’ with their user-friendly fingerprint sensor on the iPhone that requires no code or password.
On top of that, the Apple Pay also offers more security and better privacy than the NFC payment systems offered before.
With Apple Pay, users no longer now have to worry about all parties seeing the transactions that they make because Apple doesn’t see transactions versus Google Wallet, which sees what users buy in their transactions.
Furthermore, it offers more security because, with Apple Pay, even the retailer’s reading system (POS) does not receive the card number of the user because Apple Pay sends a payment token versus exchanging card numbers with the retailer. This leaves the users safe from hackers grabbing their card numbers from breached payment terminals.
This has left many to speculate that Google will change in order to offer the same or better privacy and security to its Android and Google Wallet users.
While everyone hasn’t jumped on-board for the Apple Pay service such as Wal-Mart, Apple still boasts a host of large participants including Walgreens, McDonalds and Whole Foods as well as it works with the three major credit cards – Visa, Mastercard and American Express.