(Welcome to Talksauce, the Tapsauce discussion series where we bring up a topic and you join the conversation. Oh, and the funniest, smartest, most insightful commenters will receive Rocksauce Studios swag. You have nothing to lose.)
NFC is one of my favorite topics of conversation here on Tapsauce, so if you’ve read the site with any regularity (and of course you do), you’re already aware of the basics. Still, here’s a brief recap for all of the newbies in the audience. Ahem:
Near Field Communication, or NFC, is the technology that allows for the transfer of information between devices simply by putting them in close proximity to one another. That’s the hugely simplified version, but I only have so much space in this paragraph. This is why they invented Google! Anyway, if you’ve used apps like Bump to exchange information with a fellow smartphone user, you’ve already used NFC. However, there is one practical use of NFC that has many parties chomping at the bit: the ability to electronically transfer funds using your smartphone. That means using your phone to pay for your groceries. In the supermarket. No card, no case — just tap your phone against the device and watch the money leave your account.
The convenience of it all can’t help but sound appealing. Our smartphones have already become essential to our daily lives, so why can’t they inhabit this facet as well? Despite this, I tend to hear one unanimous response from normal people (the people who don’t read tech sites) when I bring this up: they hate it. They think it sounds insecure. They think it sounds dangerous. They think it will only over-complicate a very simple procedure. Despite my fascination with NFC payment technology, I kinda’ agree with ‘em. This is something that needs to be rolled out slowly — I’m not trusting my bank account to this tech until it’s proven time and time again that it’s completely safe.
There doesn’t seem to be any hesitation with Google and PayPal, who are battling it over all of this as we speak. PayPal’s plans are enormous and involve their app essentially becoming your go-to account for all spending, using it to buy things online, in person or to order food or goods in advance so it’ll be ready when you arrive. They’ve even gained new ground with their new PayPal Access program, which will allow you to make purchases online from a number of sites without having to register for that site…you just boot up your PayPal account. PayPal’s plan is to be omnipresent. If they secure the online world, how long until they breach the physical realm? Sorry…that got pretty Lovecraftian there for a moment.
Meanwhile, Google has made a deal with New Jersey transit, meaning that drivers can now pay tolls with a wave of their Google Wallet equipped smartphone instead of keeping a roll of quarters in the cupholder. The deal also includes select bus and train routes. How soon until Google Wallet can be used to pay for parking meters?
However, NFC tech isn’t just a tool for the major corporations. Take a look at Square, a mobile payment system that requires a $9.99 cable that plugs into your smartphone and the corresponding app. The cable can read credit cards and directly draw funds, meaning that small businesses and tiny start-ups that can’t afford a full credit card set-up now have a dirt cheap alternative. Think of the further applications: You can accept credit cards at garage sales and flea markets with a Square app and cable! It’s not difficult to find one of those cables. Heck, you can buy them at Wal-Mart.
What do you think? Would you use NFC as a consumer or as a business owner?
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