Leave your cash at home. Tech analysts predict that by the end of 2015, over a half-billion smartphones will be sold with near-field communications technology built in, turning our Androids and iPhones into virtual credit cards.
Near-field communications (NFC) equips smartphones with short-range radio frequency identification, allowing users to make credit card purchases with a quick swipe over a payment kiosk. Wired.com contributor Christina Bonnington reports that Apple and Microsoft should be rolling out smartphone models with NFC capabilities by the end of this year, implicating retailers and credit card companies in a massive shift in retail payment.
Imagine secure, track-able, card-free purchasing across brick-and-mortar and online platforms. Google Wallet planted the seed of change when it was launched last May, quickly becoming a popular method of payment for transactions online. The mobile application has security features comparable to a PIN-secured credit card. Users must enter their four-digit Google Wallet password before making payments.
Less than a year later, thousands of in-store retailers have adapted their PayPass software to accept Google Wallet payments. A quick postal code search on the Google Wallet website gave me three retailers within a two-block radius.
Further re-shaping the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, NFC could let retailers equip products with scan-able item information and tech specs. InformationWeek.com reporter Art Wittman notes that “as stores like Best Buy move to compete with Amazon on price, you can bet that this technology will be used to replace the pimply faced kid that actually knows a surprising amount about whatever it is he’s selling.”
And speaking of price, NFC for smartphones could make bargain hunters of us all, detailing price comparisons across retailers by location or availability.
Smartphones currently represent 24% of all mobile phones sold around the world, up 15% from 2010, reports 1stWebDesigner.com contributor Rachel Arandilla. If we adopt NFC retail conveniences as quickly as we have for social media, bank account management, and countless other services via mobile application, the shopping landscape we are familiar with today could look radically different in coming years.
How do you think retailers could use NFC for marketing purposes? Comment below with your thoughts!
Arandilla, Rachel. “How The Smartphone Invasion Changed The Way We Live.” 28 November 2011. IstWebDesigner.com: http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/design/smartphone-invasion-changed-our-lives/
Bonnington, Christina. “Apple, Microsoft Reported to Include NFC in 2012 Smartphones.” 22 November 2011. Wired.com : http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/11/apple-ms-nfc-2012/
Wittman, Art. “CES 2012’s Big Sleeper: Near Field Communications.” 6 January 2012. InformationWeek.com: http://www.informationweek.com/news/mobility/business/232301430
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