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Definition: NFC


(1) (Nonlinear Frequency Compression) A hearing aid sound enhancement. See nonlinear frequency compression.

(2) (Near Field Communication) NFC is a wireless technology with a very short range that is built into most new smartphones and credit cards, and it may be included in tablets, cameras and household appliances. NFC is used for identification, mobile payments, train and bus tickets and other transactions. It can also be used to transfer data between devices, as well as connect a new wireless device to a Wi-Fi hotspot (see Wi-Fi Protected Setup).

NFC Is an RFID Technology
Like an RFID tag, an NFC tag stores data. For example, when embedded in an employee badge brought close to a reader, the person is identified. When users make payments with a chip-based credit card, they are using NFC (see EMV). An NFC tag can also be used like a QR barcode to retrieve a Web page or other information (see NFC tags vs. QR codes).

NFC is based on the same magnetic field induction used in RFID. However, whereas RFID is unidirectional, NFC can be bidirectional. RFID chips can also be read at a distance, but the 13.56 MHz NFC channel range is merely an inch or two. Adhering to the ISO/IEC 14443 international standard for smart cards, NFC is compatible with terminals in use around the world. See NFC tag, RFID, smart card and QR code. See also NFMI.




Back to Back
Two NFC Android smartphones transfer data just by bringing them in close contact. See Android Beam.






Wi-Fi Off, Bluetooth On
Pasted on the car's phone holder, this TAGZ-brand NFC sticker was programmed by an app to turn Wi-Fi off and Bluetooth on when the phone comes in contact with it. See NFC sticker.






The Contactless Logo
The NFC contactless logo is printed on the back of credit cards that have an EMV chip. To confirm the transaction, the card is tapped against the payment terminal. See EMV.






NFC and More
Modern smartphones have five wireless radios. For more details, see mobile wireless modes.