Despite setbacks, NFC chip future is not dead

The iPhone 5 featured payment options, but no NFC chip, despite rumors to the contrary.

One of the major mobile payment story lines from 2012 was the iPhone 5 and what it didn't have - a near field communication (NFC) chip. The rumor mill was rampant with speculation that the hardware would incorporate an NFC chip when it was officially unveiled. Unfortunately for fans of the innovative feature, the September 12 press event came and Apple introduced PassBook - a payment application - and no NFC adoption.

This was the final blow in what was a rough few months for the technology. The Google Wallet, which used the NFC, failed to gain much traction with consumers while alternative payment options like LevelUp and QR codes and cloud-based solutions through PayPal and Square gained momentum.

A recent article from Barron's examined the mobile payment industries and, more specifically, where NFC might fit in.

"With all of that said, our latest checks with industry contacts suggest that near field communication still has a very real chance of being a widely adopted mobile payment technology over the long-term, given its high degree of security and differentiated ability to provide data-rich and reliable two-way transaction messaging at the point-of-sale," reads the report.

It goes on to say that it seems clear that acceptance of mobile-based payment solutions are becoming more popular - though it seems to be more from the vendor and retail side than from the consumer side. Many small merchants have rolled out alternative payment options to avoid credit card processing fees or to make sure they can accept payments from any customer that comes through the doors.

Despite all of these options, no one system has emerged as a clear front runner in the next generation of payment options. When the next iPhone is introduced at some point this year it could have the long awaited NFC chip which would dramatically shift the market. In the end, any payment preferences of consumers will begin to cross over into the B2B sector and companies need to be ready for it.

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