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What is NFC?
Jan 23, 2019

NFC is becoming pretty commonplace thanks to the growth of online payment systems like Samsung Payand Android Pay. Especially when it comes to high-end devices and even many mid-rangers. You’ve likely heard the term before, but what is NFC exactly? In this piece we rundown what it is, how it works, and what it can be used for.

NFC stands for “Near Field Communication” and, as the name implies, it enables short range communication between compatible devices. This requires at least one transmitting device, and another to receive the signal. A range of devices can use the NFC standard and will be considered either passive or active.

Passive NFC devices include tags, and other small transmitters, that can send information to other NFC devices without the need for a power source of their own. However, they don’t really process any information sent from other sources, and can’t connect to other passive components.  These often take the form of interactive signs on walls or advertisements.


Active devices are able to both send and receive data, and can communicate with each other as well as with passive devices. Smartphones are by far the most common form of active NFC device. Public transport card readers and touch payment terminals are also good examples of the technology.