FIS Modern Banking Platform
Advance your bank with a modern core platform.
WORLDPAY EDITORIAL TEAM
July 30, 2019
Among the secure payment tools and resources available, near-field communication (NFC) technology has emerged as a leader. But what is NFC, what makes it secure, and how secure is it? Let’s take a look.
NFC is a technology that enables two devices to exchange data when they are within close proximity. The technology allows merchants to accept contactless payments from customers using a mobile wallet stored on their smartphone, or a contactless EMV chip card. To complete the transaction, a consumer merely taps or waves their smartphone or contactless card on the payments terminal.
Because it’s still fairly new, not all merchants accept NFC payments. But NFC payments can be accepted by any merchant using a terminal that is enabled to do so (terminals that accept NFC payments display a contactless symbol. Grocery markets, retail stores, quick serve restaurants, and movie theaters are just a few examples of businesses that can make use of NFC payments.
The push toward EMV chip card acceptance has accelerated the availability of NFC because most EMV chip card terminals are also NFC-equipped. However, this feature must be enabled in order to work.
NFC technology may appear to be more vulnerable to hackers since it facilitates the exchange of sensitive data that could be stolen while being transmitted “through the air.” But in application, NFC offers increased protections.
Here are three primary features of NFC security:
As with any payment security technology, shortfalls and associated risks always exist. So it’s good to be aware of potential security risks with NFC.
The biggest risk to consider may be the vulnerable nature of the NFC technology that relies on a wireless signal to accept payments. There is always the potential that hackers could access sensitive merchant information stored in the NFC terminal by way of an unsecured wireless connection. Hackers can also use on a consumer’s device, or collect information by tapping their device with another NFC device.
The good news is that these types of security attacks are difficult to carry out. All things considered, NFC-enabled card payments are more secure than traditional swiped transactions. And with payment security solutions like encryption and tokenization, there’s a reduced risk of theft of the physical card and actual card numbers.
It’s also important to note the proactive measures consumers take in protecting their devices makes a difference. For example, locking a smartphone with a passcode, PIN code, password, pattern, or biometrics for logging in, can be very effective. Since mobile wallets reside on a device, when that device is secure, the mobile wallet is secure.
NFC technology presents new opportunities for conducting commerce that appeal to consumers and businesses alike. Tapping a payment is no doubt easier and more convenient than a traditional card transaction. As long as consumers are assured of the security of NFC transactions, the technology holds the potential to fundamentally change — and improve — the payments experience.
Let's work together to reach your goals. Contact us at the links below and a representative will be in touch.
We are here to help you and your business. Contact us using the button below.Learn more