NFC Payments: Everything You Need to Know About Accepting Them Now

With declines in cases of COVID-19, thousands of businesses across the United States are right along with you preparing to re-open. Two things that should be on your re-opening checklist include taking a closer look at your payment technology and how your business is accepting credit cards with your payment processing company. Experts predict that contactless payments are a glimpse into our future. Are NFC payments or mobile payments on your radar as they should be?

What Are NFC Payments (Near Field Communication) & How Do They Work?

NFC payments is the abbreviated name for near field communication. NFC is a type of payment technology that allows two devices within close proximity, such as a smartphone and a payment terminal, to wirelessly transfer data between each other, as explained by First Data. Finance and technology publication Fin, breaks down the three different types of NFC communication and how they work.

Reader NFC Communication

accept NFC payments
Source: Unsplash

Reader NFC is a passive communication, in which information can be transmitted without the use of a power source. In other words, only the reading device itself uses power, so the tag can be as simple as a sticker placed on a poster or other inanimate objects. Holding up an NFC-enabled device, such as a smartphone, to the item activates the NFC, and the information pops up immediately.

NFC tags can therefore be used to easily provide information in public areas or enhance menus, programs, and other written materials. NFC tags used in this way are sometimes compared to QR codes, but that is not quite right; in contrast to QR codes, no specific app is needed to retrieve the information. NFC powers common things like key cards or fobs, dog microchips, and some public transportation cards. NFC payment works via reader NFC as well through tap-and-go payment cards.

Card Emulation

Card emulation is perhaps best known in the merchant services industry/financial technology (fintech) space as the technology that powers Apple Pay and Android Pay, among others. NFC payment works in digital wallets through NFC-enabled smartphones that incorporate credit and debit card accounts, loyalty cards, and other financial details into the information transmitted by the phone’s NFC tag.

NFC payment works when users pay with their smartphones in lieu of credit cards simply by waving their phone in front of a terminal. It does not require opening an app, entering a PIN or providing a signature, or entering any additional information.

Peer-to-Peer NFC Communication

Peer-to-peer interactions, on the other hand, require both NFC-enabled devices to be active. Information such as photos, documents, contacts, and videos can be transferred from one phone to the other by simply tapping them together without opening a specific app or having to even select a “send to” option. To that end, there’s potential for NFC payments to work by sending money to another user with the tap of a phone.

What Are the Benefits of Accepting Credits Cards & Other Payment Types with NFC Payments?

1. They make checkout faster – a win for merchants and customers.

According to First Data, industry research has shown that contactless transactions are faster than both cash and conventional card transactions— averaging 12.5 seconds, compared to 26.7 seconds for conventional card transactions and 33.7 seconds for cash transactions. This reduced transaction time can result in shorter queues, increased revenue, and better customer satisfaction. Because of the increased throughput at each point-of-sale, fewer personnel may be needed during peak times.

2. NFC payments are easy to implement.

All you need to get started with NFC payments is a reliable merchant account provider and an NFC-enabled payment terminal or integrated point of sale system (POS system). A payment technology company such as Priority Payments Local located in New Jersey will be able to get your equipment configured and up and running in no time.

3. They can help deepen customer engagement.

You can integrate loyalty programs in your mobile wallet acceptance solutions to help you attract repeat visitors. As a result, this opens the door to marketing opportunities that can deepen customer engagement.

NFC Payments & Safety

How safe can it be to put card information on a smartphone? Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay have each put protective measures in place to ensure the safety of NFC payments. Here’s what your customers need to know.

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Google Pay

Google Pay outlined the following security features it offers.

Data Protection

Consumer payment information is encrypted and stored on secure servers.

Virtual Account Numbers

A virtual account number is a type of temporary alias for consumers’ actual account numbers. The number is created and consumers add a card using the Google Pay app or their banking app. When they pay in stores their virtual account number is shared with the merchant instead of their actual account number. As a result, this helps to keep their account information safe.

Screen Lock and Small Payments

Consumers will need to set up a screen lock on their device before they add cards to the Google Pay app or for in-store payments. If they turn screen lock off, Google Pay removes their virtual account number from their device for their protection. To make most purchases, consumers will need to unlock their phone for most payments except certain small payments.



apple pay icon

Near Field Communication on iPhone or Apple Watch: Apple Pay

Apple notes that it was designed with consumers’ security and privacy in mind and adhere to the following security standards.  

  1. Apple does not store or have access to the original credit, debit, or prepaid card numbers consumers use with Apple Pay. 
  2. When consumers use Apple Pay with credit, debit, or prepaid cards, Apple does not retain any transaction information that can be tied back to consumers —their transactions stay between them, the merchant or developer, and their bank or card issuer.
  3. To securely transmit consumers’ payment information when they pay in apps or on the web, Apple Pay receives their encrypted transaction and re-encrypts it with a developer-specific key before the transaction information is sent to the developer or payment processor. This key helps ensure that only the app or the website that they are purchasing from can access their encrypted payment information. 

Samsung Pay

According to Samsung, Samsung Pay uses several special security methods, like tokenization, to secure consumers’ personal and financial information. In addition, Samsung noted that Samsung Knox constantly monitors and protects users’ phones from malware and other threats. As a result, Samsung Pay promises to be super secure and protects consumer card data by taking the following security measures.

  1. When consumers add their payment card to Samsung Pay, the information is encrypted and sent to Samsung servers and, ultimately, to the card issuer’s payment network (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express) for approval.
  2. A one-time password (OTP) may be requested by the card issuer to verify identity. If a consumer’s card is ever lost or stolen, this will prevent the card from being added to Samsung Pay fraudulently.  
  3. Samsung does not store or even have access to the payment information added to Samsung Pay. The last four digits of the card number will be displayed on the card image in Samsung Pay to help consumers manage their cards.

accept contactless payments - visa in store sign, contactless icon
Source: Visa

How to Accept NFC Payments for Your Business

To accept NFC payments for your business, contact us. We are a payment processing company that helps merchants accept credit card payments. At Priority, we provide merchants across the United States with NFC payment solutions and much more. Several merchants we recently boarded on NFC payments are located in New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, and Texas.

As part of your set up process, we will encourage you to display the near field communication icon to let merchants know you accept this form of contactless payments. The card brands offer engaging signage that can be displayed in your place of business.

Marisa Sanfilippo
Marisa Sanfilippo
Director of Marketing and Strategy, Priority Payments Local

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