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How NFC technology works

The latest generation smartphones feature NFC technology, acronym for Near Field Communication, literally communication in the vicinity of the technical specifications.

Through it, in fact, it is possible to connect two different devices, both equipped with NFC. This technology could not work without wireless connectivity, through which the two devices can exchange information of any kind, such as the most common multimedia files.

NFC connectivity is also widely used for electronic payments, a topic that will occupy the main part of the guide on how NFC technology works, both through an Android smartphone and an iOS device (iPhone).

Android Pay

How NFC technology works - Android Pay

Android Pay among the first applications to be landed in Italy for electronic payments using the smartphone's NFC technology and contactless card. No need to have a specific phone model, just have a mobile phone with Android operating system.

Once the application is downloaded and installed, you need to register your prepaid / contactless debit card. Registration can also be done simply by taking a photo on the card, which will be automatically recognized by the application.

Once the contactless card registration is completed, you have everything you need to make your first payment with NFC technology. At the time of purchase, bring the smartphone closer to the merchant's POS and complete the recognition by entering the PIN or using the fingerprint (depending on the smartphone at your disposal).

Samsung Pay

How NFC technology works - Samsung Pay

If you have a Samsung smartphone and want to take advantage of NFC technology for electronic payments, you can count on the Samsung Pay application.

Arrived later than other similar apps such as Google Wallet and Android Pay, the official Samsung Pay application intended exclusively for those who have a phone from the famous South Korean company.

The first phones to be compatible with the app for electronic payment are the models Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, Se Edge + and Note 5. The latest smartphones from the Asian house (Samsung S9) have Samsung Pay already integrated.

If you can't find Samsung Pay among your phone's factory applications, download it using the Google Store. Once the download is complete, open the app and associate your contactless card (prepaid, debit or credit card). The registration of the card takes place with the same procedure you have already learned in the previous paragraph, dedicated to the Android Pay application.

In the same way the payment: you just need to bring the phone to the POS and complete the transaction by identifying yourself with the method you chose previously: fingerprint, facial recognition, PIN.

Apple Pay

How NFC technology works - Apple Pay

If, instead, you have an iPhone, the NFC technology for electronic payments can be used by downloading the Apple Pay application. Almost all the devices of the bitten apple have the possibility of using the app, except for the following models: iPhone 5S, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 and earlier.

Compatibility with Apple Pay ensured by the iPhone 6 model forwards, up to the more modern iPhone X.

The first thing you need to do is download the application, if it is not already pre-installed. The second step is the registration of the contactless card. As seen for Android smartphones, you simply need to photograph the card so that the application recognizes it and stores it. Remember that you can associate one or more cards. In fact, you can have the need, for example, to register a credit card, a debit card and a loyalty card.

When paying with NFC technology, you just need to place your finger on the Touch Id (the iPhone's fingerprint reader), then move the device closer to the POS. Wait a few seconds now, until you see your card on the phone display and then the word Fine, which tells you of the success of the transaction. Depending on your bank, you may receive a confirmation message shortly after payment is received.

Check that your bank is a partner

Sometimes, having NFC technology in your smartphone and a contactless card like this can be insufficient to make an electronic payment. In fact, not all banks have adhered to the forms of payment that take advantage of the NFC mode (the best known are the aforementioned Apple Pay and Samsung Pay). As for the Samsung Pay app, the participating banks are the following: Mediolanum, Intesa San Paolo, Unicredit, BNL, Chebanca !, Hello bank! and Nexi.

If you use Apple Pay for your electronic payments based on NFC connectivity, the partner banking institutions are: Banca Mediolanum, Buddybank, Carrefour Banca, Cooperative Credit Bank, Cassa Centrale, Rural Banks of Trentino, Fineco, Credit Agricole, Nexi, Unicredit, Widiba , Sparkasse Savings Bank.

Other uses of NFC technology

NFC technology allows automatic recognition between two devices that are both equipped with this system. It guarantees a faster and more intuitive information transfer than was previously the case with Bluetooth. Often, NFC finds immediate use in sharing or transferring files – be they documents, photos or contacts – from one device to another.

Simply activate the NFC option on your smartphone and the one where you want to send, for example, your last photo, and bring the two devices closer together. In a few moments and in a completely automatic way the image transfer starts.

Furthermore, NFC technology can also be exploited on two apparently incompatible devices. the case of a digital camera and a printer. The fundamental requirement that both are equipped with the NFC chip. By bringing the camera closer to a compatible printer, you can print the photo you want immediately, using just the technology mentioned above.

We also talked about NFC technology in this other article, especially on Android devices.