One of the many nifty things about the Nexus 7 is that it has NFC (Near Field Communication). One of the features of NFC is that you can use your NFC enabled device to make a payment at a register with the appropriate hardware. I decided I wanted to test this out.
Armed with $10 on my Google Wallet account, I searched MasterCard’s PayPass directory (install this app) to find the closest participating merchant. The participating businesses in my area include: 7-Eleven, McDonald’s, CVS, Rite-Aid, RadioShack, and PETCO. Since Google was giving me the money, I decided to stop past RadioShack and use the $10 to get a $10 Google Play Gift Card. I intended on videotaping the whole process, so that you could see how it worked, but it happened so fast!
I went into RadioShack, picked up the Google Play Gift Card, and proceeded straight to the register. I told the cashier that I was planning on paying with Google Wallet. I probably didn’t need to do that; I probably could have just proceeded to make the payment. I enabled Google Wallet on my Nexus 7. In order to make the payment, you must (1) have Google Wallet running, (2) enter your PIN, and (3) the screen cannot be locked. Next, all I had to do was tap my Nexus 7 to the PayPass terminal and my transaction was completed. There was no need for the Nexus 7 to have an active network connection. Google Wallet automatically updated the next time my Nexus 7 was online.
Would I make future NFC payments using my Nexus 7? No, I wouldn’t The Nexus 7 is portable, but I don’t always have it with me. There also have to be more participating retailers. If NFC and Google Wallet were on my phone and if more retailers were using Google Wallet, then yes, I would use Google Wallet as a payment method.
Making payments with your device isn’t the only use for NFC. You can also transfer data or contact information to another NFC enabled phone. You can also purchase NFC chips, program them for various functions, and place them in a home or business. Let’s say you own a coffee shop and you have Wi-Fi available in your shop. If a customer wants access to your network, you have to give them the network information. With NFC, after you program the chip with the details to connect to your network, all someone with an NFC enabled device needs to do is tap their device to the chip and their device will connect. Easy Peasey!
As you can see, there are many uses for NFC technology. Whether or not it will achieve widespread use remains to be seen.