NFC is an acronym for near field communication, a wireless technology that allows devices to talk to each other. In the case of a mobile wallet application, those devices would be a mobile phone and a point-of-sale device, such as a credit card reader at a checkout counter. NFC can be used in other ways beyond credit card transactions. It can integrate with hardware, such as your car, to lock or unlock a door.
Consumers perceive a lack of security with NFC, but in fact NFC is much more secure than having your data stored on a magnetically striped credit card, which can be more easily compromised. There are numerous layers of security in an NFC payment, including both hardware and software, and major payment networks such as MasterCard and Visa require certification before any payment application or hardware is let loose on the public.
There are important key features that reinforce mobile NFC security:
1) NFC SIM cards storing a consumer's payment credentials and the payment applications are certified according to security standards. These standards are defined by financial services' authorities and are comparable to CHIP-N-PIN security.
2) Consumers can choose to authenticate transactions by entering a PIN code on the payment application. Consumers can also request the PIN to be entered for all payments, even for small amounts--providing the end-user with complete control over protection features.
3) Secure over-the-air technology for remote management enables immediate remote blocking of the payment application. This works in a similar fashion to blocking a bank card in opposition mode.
Check out NFC and see if your device offers NFC here and definitely give it a try!
Robert Siciliano, is a personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures