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NFC doesn’t need saving

Last updated on July 23, 2020

In applauding Apple’s decision to forego NFC in the iPhone 5, Dean Bubley offers what is at times a dual damning of mobile payments and NFC. He maintains that the former – particular carrier involvement therein — is ruining the latter. However, you can launch NFC without wallet support as well as digital wallets free of NFC and with NFC but independent of carriers. Bubley says “tapping a piece of expensive, glass-encased electronics on solid objects is stupid.” And it is less stupid to have to hold up your phone as someone scans a bar code or for that matter fiddle through your wallet to find the right loyalty card?

What comes across from this is that Bubley simply hates having carrier involvement in things, as he’s fine with NFC in a stored value card and also approves of using NFC for checking in and, I might presume, initiating exchanges of personal contact info or transfer of photos between a smartphone and a PC. The best idea Bubley raises — and a good point for not including NFC in phones — is the idea that we should not have to interrupt what we are doing on a smartphone in order to invoke NFC. Indeed, it might make more sense to have NFC embedded in a linked bracelet or smartwatch-like device linked to the smartphone via Bluetooth.

The credit card I used prior to my current one had a chip; my current one does not and I miss its convenience. NFC-based transactions are far more convenient than having to decipher which way to swipe a magnetic stripe — the kind of failure-prone insertion behaviors Apple seems intent on avoiding. Bubley expresses his satisfaction with bacteria-ridden cash transactions the way our ancestors must have accepted paying with salt. In fact, we liked it.