Are NFC mobile payments the way of the future?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: March 15, 2011

Near Field Communication is a technology that Google hopes will revolutionize the way people pay for things. NFC is supposed to be a technology that Android 2.3 supports right out of the gate, and it’s meant to be Google’s way to compete with the likes of eBay's PayPal for easy payment methods. In theory, using your phone to make a payment instead of having to dig in your pocket to find your wallet, extract your debit or credit card, and then reverse the process to put everything away is a great idea, but like with any new technology it’s going to be up to the consumer as to whether or not it exists for any real length of time after launch. Does NFC have what it takes?

Google obviously thinks it does. The Mountain View-based company is putting a lot of energy behind the technology. They’re making it a core part of the Android mobile Operating System in future releases, as far as Android 2.3 anyway, and they’re banking on the usage being adopted by hundreds of thousands all over the world in the future. Google’s planning on testing the technology here soon, with specially-made registers with NFC technology built-in being placed in retail locations all over New York City and San Francisco. Google’s even going as far as to buy the registers themselves, so obviously they think NFC will have a nice return and adoption.

The competition isn’t so motivated, it seems. Apple, for example, is said to be holding off on NFC altogether, and won’t showcase their own “invention” of the tech until 2012. With Google pushing the tech now, it will be interesting to see if NFC takes off and therefore puts Apple behind the curve by the time the Cupertino-based company manages to get their own version of the payment system in place next year. Especially with companies like Bank of America rumored to be testing NFC in their own right.

For those who use their phone to check their bank account, or even make deposits, adopting NFC to make payments simple and easy probably won’t be that big of a deal. But there are many out there who don’t like putting their bank information out there in any shape or form, even if it’s keeping their card information out of Google Checkout or Apple’s iTunes Store. How will NFC change the way these people use their phones, or make payments? Will it at all?

I think NFC is a great idea, and I can’t wait to get some usage time with the technology. Of course, I’ll have to wait a while before the tech comes to my neck of the woods, but I honestly think it will be worth the wait. I’m someone who likes to consolidate devices and make things as easy as possible, and I think NFC could help with that.

What do you think NFC has in store for the future? Will Google hit another home run with Near Field Communications, or will the tech be rejected instead of adopted by the public, and forever forgotten as another endeavor that Google tried, and ultimately had to sacrifice? Let me know in the comments below.