Back in December, I reported on the launch of the Google Nexus S, which was the first phone in the U.S. to feature Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.
NFC is a very short-range high frequency wireless technology that combines a smartcard, and card reader interface, into a single device. Presently, NFC usage is minimal but is expected to grow significantly in the near future.
Bloomberg is now quoting Richard Doherty, director of the consulting firm Envisioneering Group, stating that Apple is planning a service that lets iPhone users pay with handsets using NFC technology.
“The services are based on ‘Near-Field Communication,’ a technology that can beam and receive information at a distance of up to four inches, due to be embedded in the next iteration of the iPhone for AT&T Inc. and the iPad 2,” Doherty said. “Both products are likely to be introduced this year,” he said, citing engineers who are working on hardware for the Apple project.
Apple’s NFC payment service if implemented could provide an alternative to existing services from Paypal, Visa, Inc., Mastercard, Inc., and the new mobile payment system being developed by Google.
As Google recently acquired Zetawire (a mobile payment company), it’s not a stretch to imagine that NFC technology will be incorporated into Google’s mobile payment system as well.
Ultimately, the consumers will decide how popular these new payment options will become. But with smartphones becoming more common, I can see NFC developing into a very viable mobile payment alternative.