What is Tap and Pay (NFC)?

In modern commerce, more transactions are trending towards contactless. Snacks, gas, quick purchases, groceries, and more – these transactions are made easier with the help of the NFC and EMV enabled cards for tap and pay transactions. 

How does this feature work? The answer lies in state-of-the-art technologies EMV and NFC, or Near Field Communication. NFC can be used to enable tap and pay through briefly holding the EMV chip against the NFC radio on the payment device. This is instead of dipping or inserting the EMV chip card into the terminal. 

What is NFC or Near Field Communication?

NFC is a highly secure form of electronic transmission allowing transfer of information for a payment transaction, resulting in funds transferred from the bank to the retailer in exchange for some product or service. While most consumers do not see beyond the simple approval message, there are a series of activities happening behind the scenes that allow customers to make a successful transaction. 

With the help of NFC, the consumers are no longer required to provide any signature or enter a PIN code for an approved transaction. Even without a signature or PIN, NFC tap and pay transactions are considered quite secure. This is because they make use of the same security infrastructure as employed by EMV chip cards. 

How does NFC Work? Understanding the RFID or Radio-Frequency Identification Technology

Your credit card is capable of emitting radio frequency signals to a card terminal to initiate a transaction. Near field transactions happen at close range only, 4 cm or less per the NFC specification. 

Along with the distance specification, the card signals are also activated by  another chip inside the card reader. These card signals are encrypted before transmission. This is done to ensure that your private bank information is not sent in an unprotected state. 

The encrypted message is unique to the card while also being unique to every transaction. Therefore, only your bank is capable of decoding transaction data. The encrypted transaction serves as a handshake between the card issuer and the POS or point of sale terminal. 

Why is Tap and Pay Great?

It is estimated that mobile-based payments are growing at around 40 percent every year. As such, there are many  benefits for businesses that accept tap and pay or NFC transaction such as:

Instant Transactions

In comparison to payments made with PIN cards, chip, or cash, payments made with the help of tap and pay turn out to be faster. There is no requirement to wait for a customer keying in a PIN, inserting a chip card, or searching for cash. The process helps consumers to complete transactions instantly while allowing businesses to serve the next customers easily and conveniently. 

Acceptance of Wallet-less Consumers

Most consumers are adding their debit and credit card information to mobile devices with the help of Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, or Google Pay, and other mobile wallet applications. To be able to accept mobile wallet payments, you must have a payment terminal that is capable of accepting tap and pay NFC technology. 

Secure Transactions

With NFC technology, encryption, and EMV, tap and pay transactions are very secure. Both MasterCard and Visa require customers to place the card within 4 cm of the credit card reader for the transaction to take place successfully. Cardholders can also be assured of protection of the purchases from the credit card providers. 

Tap and Pay is a Rapidly Emerging Trend in Modern Payments

Tap and pay contactless payment methods work by using RFID or radio-frequency identification technology. It is a well-established technology that is built upon the concept of electromagnetic fields. RFID makes use of built-in memory chips capable of storing data, also called tags. RFID readers are responsible for decoding the message and transaction data. With the help of this unique technology, physical objects that remain in close proximity can communicate with one another. These systems are important for day-to-day tasks like toll collection, inventory management, and package tracking. 

Contactless payments depend on NFC or Near-field Communication. NFC is the underpinning technology for high-end payment services including Google Pay and Apple Pay. 

Cardholders that are enrolled in a mobile wallet platform can make use of the advanced contactless payment platforms on their watches, smartphones, and other wearable devices for ensuring faster and easier transactions at point of sale terminals. NFC technology allows a wide range of transactions in addition to payments. For example, it is also used in the concept of e-ticketing. As far as banking is concerned, cardless ATMs enable consumers to withdraw money with the help of a simple swipe, tap, or scan. Rather than physically inserting a debit card into the ATM machine, the machines allow customers to withdraw cash with the help of a smartphone app.


NFC continues making our lives easier by enabling a wide range of advanced payment methods including wearable payment technology. Along with this, radio frequency technology also helps in the facilitation of highly secure transactions.

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