What is NFC?
NFC (Near-Field Communication) is a proximity-based wireless technology that enables two devices in close proximity to connect with each other. Though NFC is generally compared with Bluetooth and WiFi, unlike them, NFC uses magnetic field induction to connect devices that are a few centimetres from each other.
Evolved from RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology, NFC works at a standard frequency of 13.56 MHz. The first set of specifications for NFC tags was produced in 2006, and the first NFC-enabled smartphone was also introduced around the same time.
The main difference between NFC and RFID is that NFC is a two-way communication method that works in short distances, whereas RFID is a one-way communication mode that can occur at varying distances.
How does NFC work?
NFC being a proximity-based technology allows two close-proximity devices to exchange information using radio frequency signals.
An NFC network consists of two devices, an initiator and a target, and works in the following manner.
- The NFC initiator generates a radio frequency field.
- The 2nd device, the NFC target has an NFC chip that contains the information to be exchanged between the two.
- When the target is brought close, the initiator detects the RF field and gets activated.
- The NFC target then used the RF field to send information to the initiator.
- The NFC initiator receives the data and then processes it as required.
Though this sounds complicated, in practice, NFC is a very simple technology to use. A user has to simply tap an NFC chip document (target) on a smartphone (initiator), and the necessary data gets transmitted in the background in a secure and fast manner.
Where is NFC used?
The range of NFC is typically a few centimetres, making it useful for short-range communications without unintended interactions. this makes data transfer using NFC highly protected and secure. With most smartphones being NFC-enabled today, it is very convenient for businesses to use NFC in various applications.
Some common uses of NFC include;
- Identity verification: NFC chips in identification documents like ID cards, passports and driving licenses are nowadays used to verify user idneitites using a smartphone. This not only meets legal requirements for identity but also makes identity sharing and verification very easy.
- Contactless payments: Probably the most common use of NFC technology, contactless transactions using NFC are widespread today. Most credit cards, mobile devices and smartwatches come with built-in NFC chips that allow transactions by simply tapping the devices on a POS (Point of sale) terminal. This method of payment is also fast, easy and secure.
- Controlled access: NFC technology today is increasingly used to access controlled systems like security gates, doors and attendance systems. For this, users simply need to tap their NFC-enabled devices to an NFC reader to gain access.
- Public transportation: NFC tags on a rider’s card or smartphone that can be tapped against an NFC reader provide easier and more convenient access to public transport while improving efficiency.
What are the benefits of using NFC?
A few important benefits of using NFC are;
- Greater security: Being a proximity-based technology, NFC works only when the two devices are very close to each other. This makes it very secure since it prevents unauthorised access to critical information.
- Easy to use: Unlike Bluetooth which requires a pairing process, NFC is very easy to use since it lets devices connect by simply bringing them close to each other. Transactions/data transfer through NFC takes seconds, making it highly convenient.
- Cost-effective: Since most smartphones are NFC-enabled today, it has made the technology an efficient and cost-effective alternative to other modes of data transfer.
- Does not require network connectivity: NFC doesn’t require a Bluetooth or internet connection, making it easier for small-scale businesses to use NFC-enabled devices for transactions.
How can uqudo’s NFC facilitate your identity verification?
uqudo’s identity verification uses an NFC reader and scanner to verify your customer identity documents. For this, the user first has to take a photo of the ID card. Next, the identity document has to be placed against the smartphone for it to access the NFC chip.
The smartphone then reads the data from the NFC chip of the ID document. uqudo’s identity platform then validates the certificate to sure that the data is genuine.
uqudo’s NFC identity verification solutions can;
- Verify NFC chips using digital signatures in passports from 42 countries.
- Verify NFC chips using digital signatures from National IDs from countries that no other provider can including UAE, Oman and Bahrain.
To learn more about NFC verification and how it can enhance your user onboarding experience, get in touch with our product specialists.