5 Things That Could Kill NFC Before it Gets Going

Ruth Greenberg
Tuesday, Nov 29, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Five years ago NFC was the next big thing. Today many people still don’t know what it is. When you explain NFC stands for near field communication people generally switch off. When you say it’s that thing where your cell phone works as a credit card, they switch back on. So what’s stopping this cutting-edge technology from going viral? The answer for the most part is easy: us. Here’s a list of five things that could kill NFC before it gets going.


This is the Achilles’ heel of every revolution. People are afraid of change. Or, at least some people are. In this age of technological advancement the younger generation laps up each new invention and then asks for more. To them the idea of a phone that replaces everything from a concert ticket to a credit card simply makes sense.

But that younger generation doesn’t have credit cards. And for the older generation that does, the thought of incorporating one into your phone is just plain wrong. Then again, so was the idea of voice recognition that actually works… or a portable computer… or Internet that comes from the air.

Not only does technology help make life better—it can also make life easier. The worry is always that non-techies will struggle with change and advancements. But a recent study that tested NFC use in meal services for the elderly found that it was so easy it actually helped “to decrease the digital divide.” The message is if your grandparents can understand how to use, so can you.


As we know money is the source of all problems. When it comes to using NFC as a way to purchase goods in-store, retailers don’t want to pay for the new system. This creates a chicken-and-the-egg syndrome; if stores don’t offer it, buyers don’t ask for a phone that has it. And so NFC is literally being squeezed out of the market.

Or so you might think. But in 2012 nearly two-thirds of all mobile phone users will have a cell phone that has NFC technology. That speaks for itself.

If most consumers don’t know about it and retailers don’t want to pay for it, the only reason it’s continuing to spread is because manufacturers believe in it. As technology moves beyond the margins of the credit card and peer-to-peer use, we’ll all discover why it’s something to get excited about.


One of the great things about NFC is that it makes many of the day to day things you have to carry on your person obsolete; however, this is also one of its biggest problems. The power of plastic has ruled the commercial world for a long time and credit card companies are not thrilled at the prospect of being reduced to the status of an app.

A number of products would lose out to the widespread introduction of NFC. But this is the future and survival is about adaptation. Just look at the once-in-decline magazine—many are already upping their sales through the use of Microsoft Tag by providing an interactive digital platform alongside their publication to enhance the reading experience.


This is probably one of the biggest concerns for consumers when it comes to NFC. Not only will your mobile be everything from a swipe credit card to the key to your house, it will also hold all your personal information. And because most people don’t understand how the technology works, they worry that it’s unsafe. We used to feel the same way about flying.

Lack of Foresight

A big problem for the advancement of NFC technology is that people only think of it in terms of credit card payments and peer-to-peer communication. What is being overlooked is the huge range of potential it has in so many other areas.

We’ve spoken about concert tickets and house keys and interactive magazines. This is only the beginning. Most marketing departments haven’t caught on to the huge benefits of NFC, as well as increasing sales, it’s invaluable for gaining important information about who your customers are and what they want without having to pay a dime.

It’s only a matter of time. There may be many things out there that stand in the way of NFC, but do we really believe any of them are capable of holding back a technology that people want? Because it’s technology such as NFC that will change the way we live our lives. As the saying goes, you can’t kill a great idea.

To see just how NFC works on a mobile device, check out the below video.

What do you think about the future of NFC? Let us know with your comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Recent Comments
  • tanlsf

    11/29/2011 , 8:00 PM
    NFC is not as flexible as 2D barcode especially in printing material because the cost and distribution.
  • Bret Pawlowski

    11/30/2011 , 7:35 AM
    Keep in mind that NFC is just a term to use to describe a theory and singular transactional method. Soon there will be more relevant discussions about ecosystems that incorporate features similar to NFC but that will be secure, natural to use, quick to adopt and will require no equipment or extra effort from merchants. Tags, QR codes, NFC etc..are all just the tools available now that are being used to pave the way towards the HALO. Bret Pawlowski, President Brands In Motion November 30, 2011.


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