NFC The Next Big Thing NFC, or the technology discussed in this article, is neither new nor a revolutionary innovation; it has been in existence in the business industry for decades. Mobile payment using NFC as an interface has not been in use for long, so we can say it’s pretty new. This is used mainly for the prepaid card industry, rather than grocery shopping. A high-level overview of Near Field Communication (NFC)-based mobile financial services and mobile payments is the objective of this article. This post first appeared on 26-June-2014 on Linkedin, “Proximity Payments – Contact-less“. 

The assumption taken is that “readers are fully aware and well versed in mobile payment through a mobile wallet or mobile money”. In the event that detailed information or deliberation is needed on any part, please feel free to get in touch directly.

NFC  – The Left Alone Payment Channel

Banks and retailers are hesitant to participate in NFC payments due to the low adoption rate. The lack of participation from banks and retailers is the precise reason for the low adoption rate. Though NFC is an easy and simple concept, sometimes it gets oversimplified for payments under mobile payments. Speed of payment is an essence in the mobile payments industry that every single service provider in this industry is struggling for.

Mobile Wallet is a solution that lets people conduct banking transactions with ease, directly from their mobile device, in a secure and convenient manner. With a full understanding of the business and technologies, we can now get some ideas on how to marry both of these technologies to gain some cost-effective and speedy payment instruments.


NFC (near-field communication) allows two devices placed within a few centimeters of each other to exchange data; both have to be equipped with an NFC chip. This is a major contributor to reducing the time it takes to pay for goods and services. NFC brought the concept of “tap and pay,” while artificial intelligence (deep learning) brought “smile and pay.” If we had a Ministry of Innovation for regulation and control on a global level, then today’s work and innovation may not have happened.

Apple Pay (as per news, 10 million handsets were sold in the first 3 days of launch) from a technology perspective was neither a new offering nor a game changer and is now followed by almost every big player in the industry. Without a doubt, that launch was to set a trend for NBFTC (non-banking financial and technology companies) on how to enter into payments and did its job well, so-called banking domain, and eat the share.

It is now necessary for financial institutions and other interested parties to collaborate and utilize technology and pre-existing mobile network operator infrastructures to acquire customers, expand their services, minimize expenses, and boost revenue in markets where regulatory authorities are more prominent. Consequently, mobile payments have emerged as a practical substitute for conventional payment methods, including cash, credit or debit cards, online transactions, and even bank account transactions.

Apple Brought NFC in Light Again

When Apple decided to jump on board (Sept. 2014), the game changed because all of a sudden it was like an indication of the guaranteed massive user base for this type of technology and service. Unlike most of the MNOs, which keep on focusing and growing the mobile network in a positive way to penetrate these or other isolated areas, millions of people are now able to connect via a mobile phone.

Rapid advancements in mobile technology are changing the way we live, from the way we connect with others to the way we manage our finances. Technological innovations have made certain aspects of our daily lives that much easier. The advent of mobile money has given those who were previously unable to conduct monetary transactions an easy and affordable alternative to traditional bank accounts. Mobile payment services do not necessarily need to be connected or linked directly to your bank account.

Security is the first thing when it comes to mobile payments, and the way Apple handles it is very commendable. Its approach to the secure element is a physical chip, which is only available in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Each time a user initiates a transaction, the SE assists in generating a random, one-time-use code in lieu of transmitting the user’s debit or credit card number. After hearing about Apple Pay, it slowly penetrated people’s brains, and I also thought I might be able to do the same thing with my Note 3.

I don’t know what the magic is behind Apple’s appeal, but it sure does draw and retain a significant user base, and apparently very loyal ones too. There seems to be a lack of advertising for this feature; I’m not sure why. Maybe now that Apple, Android, and Samsung are going to bring it to billions,

Previously, recharging a prepaid mobile number meant adding more airtime, but now we are able to add money to it, keep our credit cards and loyalty point coupons, access our bank accounts, and use it like our ordinary wallet for payments. NFC is a special instrument to play mobile payment tunes or a ticket to the cashless future, and it will be a good solution that finally shields wallets from theft and fraud. Many retailers already have NFC-based contactless payment terminals in place, making the transition to mobile payments easy.

Mobile Payments Service Provider Market Just Got Busy & Crowded

Phones compatible with Google, Apple, Samsung, and Android can use these terminals. I just like plain old consumer electronic devices, all with pros and cons, and assume that in this industry, image plays a big role and that big players marketing and product design teams own the playing field. It’s too bad that use of technologies such as NFC payment didn’t catch on earlier due to other companies failing to market them correctly or lacking the type of user base as few big players.

The concern around security in NFC-based mobile payments is a little less, as in the process of payment, after launching the payment application, the handset is touched on the POS or MPOS terminal and a connection is made using NFC. At this point, the customer may be asked to scan their finger or enter a passcode to approve the transaction. The transaction is then validated with a separate chip called the secure element (SE), which relays that authorization back to the NFC modem. From there, the payment finishes processing the same way it would in a traditional credit card swipe transaction. Innovations in mobile money have made a drastic change in the way people pay for goods and services.

Now most of the operators across the industry, especially in Africa, are progressing on a service that provides a global money clearing house or international remittance hub for mobile payment services, offering interoperability between mobile money service providers networks.

The interesting fact in the mobile financial industry is that we usually receive funds once or twice a month as part of our salary or fee, but spending is done at least three times a day, sometimes over five times. This method of spending is known as “micropayment” or “microspending.” Putting in numbers, this can go into billions of dollars.

An easy example: if we start charging 1 cent per transaction as commission for micro-payments through NFC (the stored value card technology) for food, drinks, snacks, petrol, tolls, souvenirs, or any similar purchase, and each one of us spends a minimum of $5 a day (assumed at 40% of the world population), then the total commission earnings will be to the tune of $4.3 billion per month. This market has clearly not been explored that well, and this also goes straight into the mobile money market as a potential plug.

The main drivers behind the success of mobile money are the explosive growth in the number of mobile devices and the fall in the cost of computing power, which have lowered the barriers to new entrants in this field. The most important step in a mobile payment transaction is the secure element, which holds all the authorization power.

Whether it’s a chip in the phone or functions virtually in the cloud, the secure element is tamper-proof and protected by a unique digital signature. Mobile money (m-money) is quite versatile and can support a variety of services, in particular person-to-person (P2P) money transfers, which are of significant value for emerging economies. The other key driver for this is the inaccessibility of banking services to the general populace, mainly due to poor infrastructure and a lack of trust in local banks among countrymen and companies.

Mobile payments will be a 3–4 trillion euro market by 2020, as the world is running to get their bite of the payment cake, including Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and many other big players. So manufacturers need to ensure very high security for users to gain their trust and secure their transactions with secure element chips. The architecture of the secure element chip should be designed to be hardened against attacks on the phone.

Why can’t you and I get some small dust out of it? NFC has been used for ages but has never gotten much attention. As we all know, technically, NFC is a wireless communication technology that permits data transfer over distances of up to 10 cm based on the ISO/IEC 18092 standard. Based on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, it has been used in various industries, including retail, automobile, medical, transportation, and manufacturing.

The primary uses of NFC are

  • Connect electronic devices, such as wireless components in a home office system or a headset with a mobile phone.
  • Access digital content using a wireless device such as a cell phone to read a “smart” poster embedded with an RFID tag.
  • Two devices read and write to each other using NFC, touching two handsets together to transfer data like contacts or photos, normally called “two-way communication.
  • The device reads and writes to an NFC chip. Touch and go concept, like in the Apple case, where touching an Apple NFC device on an NFC reader or NFC POS to debit a wallet or card for mobile payment balance is written to the card normally.
  • Make contactless transactions, including those for payment, access, and ticketing.

Banks will certainly have to judge whether the massive investment they could make in order to challenge the spreading popularity of payment systems such as PayPal will be worthwhile, given that PayPal has gained a “first mover’ advantage and that, as highly-regulated financial service companies with duties to both national and continental authorities, they have to abide by stricter rules and security protocols.

They must also judge whether their customers will move with them into a new, more agile, flexible, and electronic future or whether a majority of people actively prefer the new, low-cost (or free) services that have sprung up as part of the digital revolution. Banks, for their part, will continue to work hard to convince customers that they have their interests at heart and are introducing new payment systems in order to make their lives easier and save them money while maintaining their security.

The main drivers behind the success of mobile money are the explosive growth in the number of mobile devices and the fall in the cost of computing power, which have lowered the barriers to new entrants in this field. Mobile money (m-money) is quite versatile and can support a variety of services, in particular person-to-person (P2P) money transfers, which are of significant value for emerging economies. Broadly speaking, m-money refers to financial transactions and services that can be carried out using a mobile device such as a mobile phone or tablet.

These financial transactions and services are sometimes referred to as mobile financial services and may or may not be linked directly to a bank account. The year 2012 turned out to be a very busy year for mobile money, with a number of articles in the news and companies like Starbucks announcing their mobile money plans each week. The terms “m-money”, “mobile financial services,” and “e-money” are used quite often in technical reports and in the media.

Disclaimer & Points to Note

All credit and credits of contributions remain with original authors and I sincerely thanks for their contribution here. Welcome to the future of payments. In this post, we have discussed the potential merger of social media, AI and its bundle pack, i.e., machine learning, data science, futuristic technologies, and big data analytics. In the next post, we will pick up a specific use case to deliberate on.

Books + Other readings Referred

  • Open Internet – NewsPortals, Economic development report papers
  • Personal & professional working experience of  @AILabPage members.

Feedback & Further Question

Do you have any questions about Deep Learning or Machine Learning? Leave a comment or ask your question via email. Will try my best to answer it.

Sign-tConclusions:What are the possible outcomes of using NFC technology for mobile payments? Will it revolutionize the world, result in a big triumph, or simply be a clever workaround? The implementation of NFC technology for mobile transactions has the potential for widespread use and will provide financial institutions and associates with more options. In turn it will provide users with secure smartphone payment methods.

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Posted by V Sharma

A Technology Specialist boasting 22+ years of exposure to Fintech, Insuretech, and Investtech with proficiency in Data Science, Advanced Analytics, AI (Machine Learning, Neural Networks, Deep Learning), and Blockchain (Trust Assessment, Tokenization, Digital Assets). Demonstrated effectiveness in Mobile Financial Services (Cross Border Remittances, Mobile Money, Mobile Banking, Payments), IT Service Management, Software Engineering, and Mobile Telecom (Mobile Data, Billing, Prepaid Charging Services). Proven success in launching start-ups and new business units - domestically and internationally - with hands-on exposure to engineering and business strategy. "A fervent Physics enthusiast with a self-proclaimed avocation for photography" in my spare time.


  1. Excellent Post, I agree micro payments should fly with this technology. 5 starts from me.


  2. Micro Payments Business at

    NFC is fast upcoming technology . Micro payments will fly but positions of the product has to be very strategic


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