No signature, no pin input, and no change - an ideal, hygienic and cost-saving alternative for over-the-counter cash transactions. The vexed issue of cash management can thus be minimized in some areas and eliminated in the long term.
“Near Field Communication” (NFC) is the process which allows customers to pay with a contactless cash card. The principle is simple: the contactless card is briefly held against a reader at the checkout and the corresponding debit data is exchanged via telecommunications. Banking devices can be “charged” via online banking or as a service at the checkout in shops.
The NFC wireless standard has been specifically reduced to a range of centimetres to make it more difficult to intercept the data transferred. The extremely short distance virtually excludes unintended connections.
From April the banking industry will introduce a contactless cash card within the framework of the girogo project. Savings banks, credit unions and cooperative banks will participate in a trial involving around 1.5 million NFC cards. On the merchant side, there is also a long list of companies that support the use of NFC technology.
The VISA credit card organization is working with six banks and will introduce its payWave system onto the German market this year.
In the long term, it is anticipated that the cards will be replaced as carriers of the NFC technology by mobile devices such as Smartphones with the appropriate apps. This will make NFC suitable not only for payment transactions but also for exchanging other information such as phone numbers, pictures or MP3 files.