NFC (short for Near-field communication) is a short-range, high-frequency wireless technology which lets devices – primarily mobile phones – communicate with other NFC devices. This can be utilized in a number of applications including mobile ticketing, mobile money, and smart billboards.
NFC + the iTunes checkout system, could truly become a payment method for many of us. Users are already familiar and comfortable with purchasing things via iTunes, and as we look to use alternatives to cash, checks, and even credits cards – it makes sense that Apple provides this. With a re-vamped iTunes that COULD hold not only users credit cards but also loyalty points and credits. And, lucky you! You’ll also be getting targeted ad through your phone for discounts and deals! It would not surprise me if we see Apple partnering or buying a ‘Groupon’ or ‘LivingSocial’ type service to deliver local ads and daily deals based on your buying preferences and history with iTunes, account profile and location. This effectively turns iTunes into a financial service. It also will help tame the fees VISA, MASTERCARD, AMEX and the rest have been charging for years.
NFC-enabled phones are still relatively unknown in the U.S., although they have been popular for years in Japan and other parts of Asia. A phone with NFC capabilities simply needs to pass within 4 inches of a receiving device to transmit account data for a purchase. In that sense, it’s just like the credit card in your wallet, except it doesn’t need to be swiped through a machine. My bet – we will see this in the new upcoming iPhone 5 this summer, perhaps as soon as July, 2011.