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Apple Pay and Near Field Communication (NFC)

Originally found on The Canadian Personal Finance site, it seems to fit better here. Written when Apple Pay was announced, and my trepidations with it. As we have seen NFC and Apple-Pay have both caught on like wildfire

Until a few days ago NFC, meant National Football Conference to me, but after a bit of research I learned it also means Near Field Communication, (and Apple’s announcement of Wallet & Apple Pay™)  and it is an exploding field in the Financial and Telecommunication world. You most likely already have Smartcards with “tap” capabilities, but more is coming (real soon now).

Apple Pay
An Interesting Product Name and so easily mocked.

Apple Pay Announced a While Ago

Apple’s announcement of  Apple Pay™ as part of the iPhone 6.0, so you can use your phone to “tap and pay” (you don’t even need your wallet anymore wander around with your phone), maybe a “game changer” in terms of either payment systems or Smartphones (not sure which). Currently, you can use your phone to “pay” but it typically uses the “scanner” capability (i.e. throw up a bar code or scatter code on the smartphone screen, and scan it), will folks adopt this new payment system? Given Apple’s ability to market things, my guess is yes, all the Hipsters will be flocking to using Apple Pay™.

The Disney store is adding payment machines that allow you to pay “on the fly” with your NFC-capable payment thing-a-ma-bob, so you can take your trendy iPhone 6.0 and buy some Disney stuff, Yea!!

Isn’t this a wonderful world we live in? Um, no, not for an old grizzled tech geek like me. All I see with this is yet another way to either:

  • Impulse spend without having to think about the consequences (the battle cry of the hipster, cappuccino sipping generation)
  • Another possible security breach that can empty my bank account (or at least put a dent in it)

If you read the Wikipedia page you will see a nice line that states:

Although the communication range of NFC is limited to a few centimeters, NFC alone does not ensure secure communications.

That is one of the kickers to watch. There are lots of really nifty security stuff built into this technology (I am not a complete Luddite, I do realize folks do try to be secure in these products, I don’t think they do enough). However, it is still susceptible to a few common lines of attack, from those desperadoes out there trying to steal your money (without having to have a gun, or even seeing you). Look up “man in the middle attacks” on Google, for a good example.

The peril of losing your phone now is much more severe as well, and equally important, is to have a good password on your phone (so that folks can’t easily borrow it to pay for things).

What do you think?

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