All About Near-Field Communication (NFC) [Infographic]

Editor’s Note: This blog entry was originally published on March 21, 2018, and was updated on May 27, 2020.

What is NFC?

You may have heard of “tap and go” payments, or even contactless payments - but how much do you know about the technology that powers this payment method? It’s called near-field communication, or NFC, and it allows two devices in close proximity to communicate with each other, such as when a smartphone or a wearable smart device communicates with a device at a cash register to process a payment.

NFC technology can be found in many smartphones, tablets, and wearables. It also powers many digital wallets, such as Apple Pay®, Google PayTM, and Samsung Pay®. NFC technology makes payments easier and quicker, as the purchaser can just tap or wave their smart device over the NFC-enabled payment device.

The Technology Behind NFC

Radio-frequency identification, or RFID, is a technology that uses radio waves to relay identifying information from an electronic tag placed on an object to an electronic reader. RFID technology is used in pet microchips and access badges for office buildings and garages. NFC is a more fine-tuned subset of RFID, and is used to share data over smaller distances, such as in a contactless payment transaction.

How Does Security Work with NFC Payments?

NFC allows payments to be secure, fast, and convenient. The NFC reader and the smartphone securely pass information back and forth to complete the payment. Here’s one example of the process:

  • You use your phone to take a picture of your credit card
  • That data is loaded on the phone
  • The phone provider sends details to your issuing bank or network
  • Your bank/network replaces details with randomly generated numbers
  • Security programmed into phone
  • Your payment token is sent back to the phone provider

Other NFC security measures can also include:

  • Dynamic Encryption - Tokens change every time an NFC transaction occurs, so data is impossible to isolate and extract
  • Touch ID - Many phone providers require thumbprints or facial scans to access payments apps


Software developers need to offer solutions that support the many ways their customers want to pay. Providing the most personalized payment options available today, Global Payments Integrated supports all major digital wallet and near-field communications (NFC) contactless solutions, allowing consumers to pay using contactless cards or the personal devices they carry with them daily. Contact us today to learn more.


NFC Near-Field Communication Infographic


Apple Pay® is a trademark of Apple, Inc. All trademarks contained herein are the sole and exclusive property of their respective owners.
Google PayTM is a trademark of Google, Inc.  All trademarks contained herein are the sole and exclusive property of their respective owners. Any such use of those marks without the express written permission of their owner is prohibited.
Samsung Pay® is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.