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NFC payments are about to become faster, easier, and truly contactless

Wireless charging over NFC could also be improved.

Published onJune 22, 2023

NFC Tags and Google Pay
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
  • The NFC Forum has laid down a roadmap that outlines five key initiatives through 2028.
  • The outline offers a glimpse at the future of NFC technology.
  • One of the initiatives is to increase the range of NFC connections by four to six times the current distance.

Have you ever noticed that contactless payments aren’t exactly contactless? Since near-field communication (NFC) technology works at such a short distance, you often end up having to touch your device with another device. But that status quo could change in the next few years.

The NFC Forum — a group founded by Sony, NXP Semiconductors, and Nokia in 2004 to improve NFC — has revealed a roadmap for NFC technology that extends from now to 2028. This roadmap — created by representatives from Apple, Google, and more — outlines five key initiatives for the direction of the technology over the next two to five years. One of those initiatives is to increase the range of NFC connections.

Currently, NFC connections only work at a distance of 5mm. However, the NFC Forum wants to extend this distance by four to six times. Not only would this allow contactless payments to become truly contactless, but it would also make transactions faster and easier. Even a modest change is said to be enough to reduce the precision needed to align the antenna.

Improving the range was far from the only matter the collective was looking into. The group shared that it wanted to increase wireless charging over NFC from 1W to 3W. Doing so would allow for wireless power and charging in smaller devices. It could even allow the creation of new applications previously left unexplored.

Another initiative is to enable multiple-purpose taps. This would reportedly make supporting several actions with a single tap possible. Additionally, the group mentioned giving NFC-enabled smartphones Point-of-Sale functionality and the ability to share how products should be recycled.

While it’s nice to dream about these advancements coming to fruition, don’t expect them to be coming this year. It will take a while before these improvements are made and they find their way to your devices.

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