What is NFC?

by , Phones 03/08/2011

NFC – or Near Field Communication – is now starting to appear in the latest mobile phones, but what is it and what can it do?

Essentially, NFC enables phones to wirelessly transmit data over very short distances. It’s a similar system to Bluetooth, though NFC is much faster.

Although NFC in phones is very new, the technology itself isn’t. In fact if you have an Oyster card for travelling around London or a contactless payment credit card then you’ve already used NFC.

But moving the technology into mobile phones, devices that most people carry with them every day, could see the use of NFC really take off.

One of the first NFC-equipped phones is the Samsung Google Nexus S. This smartphone uses NFC to read smart tags, which can be found in posters or displays, and which in turn send additional information to the phone. So for example, you could swipe the phone against a museum display to learn more about that exhibit.

But its NFC’s potential for making contactless payments that is causing most excitement.

We’ve already seen the first mobile phone in the UK that can be used to pay for things. The Samsung Quick Tap didn’t impress in our lab tests, but if you’re keen to use your phone as a ‘mobile wallet’ then it’s available free on mobile phone deals of just £10 a month.

Watch our video to see the of the Samsung Quick Tap in action.

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