NFC technology: How does it work?

Contactless payment: Find out what's in it for you

An iPhone 5 packing Near Field Communication technology is tipped to land this summer. Find out what NFC could mean for your Apple smartphone

1/Near Field Communication (NFC) is a contactless, wireless means of transferring information between two close objects

2/ It is activated when two antennae communicate with each other through a magnetic field (for example, your Oyster card and the reader)

3/ Devices can come in the form of smart-cards, mobile phones, credit and debit cards, cash machines and computers to name a few

4/ NFC is similar to Bluetooth, but is a much faster means of communication with enabled devices able to instantly recognise each other. However, NFC has a much shorter range (making it more secure) and a much slower data transfer rate.

5/ Benefits include easy mobile payment and identification by serving-up personal info, such as bank account and passport chip details.

6/ It can be used to gain entry into other events like concerts and sports events, with Manchester City FC using NFC for its season tickets.

7/ It's likely that NFC could eventually be used to open your house, unlock your car door or open your safe.

8/ Long lines at bus stops while folks fiddle with change will be eradicated by NFC-enabled smart cards like Oyster. Speed of service in shops is also likely to increase, but counter staff may decrease as a result.

9/ iPhone app "Bump" lets users exchange contact information by "bumping fists" with the phones. Other files can be easily transferred between NFC devices at a maximum rate of 848kbit/s

10/ NFC devices could eventually decrease the load in your wallet, by eradicating the need for cash, credit cards, store cards and driving licences. All information could potentially be stored on your mobile handset. Just don't lose it.

11/ Picking up information on-the-go from smart posters and billboards will become second nature. Don't think the advertisers haven't noticed the potential.

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