It seems that for the last few years, the "next big thing" in the payment industry was the inclusion of near-field communication (NFC) chips. It has been talked about by the credit card, ATM and smartphone industries, but so far the years of hype have not lead to actual adoption in the United States.
In other markets like Canada and Europe, NFC and EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) - a form of chip card technology - have become widespread. According to a recent article in TechWorld, despite the push by banks, retailers, mobile operators and device manufacturer to get NFC mainstream, consumers have not been given the devices to make it possible.
Back in early September of last year, the rumored features for the latest iPhone 5 were rampant. One piece of speculation that the payment industry focused on was the inclusion of an NFC chip into the hardware. When the phone was finally unveiled on September 12, that particular feature was left on the cutting room floor in favor of the QR and Barcode scanning feature for the application Passbook.
Had Apple included NFC technology in the application, it would have opened up a customer base of millions that the payment industry could take advantage of. Now, with no standard use of NFC, there are several different options on the market, all of which function differently.
"As an industry, if all we're going to offer consumers is replacing a card swipe with a phone tap, we've failed. That's not saving you time, it's not giving you much convenience. We have to think more outside the box, we have to do things that give people unique value that they can't get from standing in line and swiping a card today," Hill Ferguson, the vice president of Global Products at PayPal, told the news source.
NFC and EMV are still very much in the plans for the future of the payment industry. Merchants need to be paying attention to this to make sure they do not fall behind the times.