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NFC payments – What are they and how to accept them

7 January 2019 Product Information

Near field communication (NFC) is the technology that enables contactless paymentsNFC was originally developed to let people exchange files and contact details between mobiles wirelessly. Now, it’s found a new lease of life enabling contactless payments. NFC technology first appeared in UK debit and credit cards in 2007. The first UK brand to accept contactless payments at its outlets was Eat, the fast food chain, in 2008. However, despite advantages of NFC payments over Chip & PIN, it took longer for the public to embrace them.


2017 – the year NFC payments took over

Then, in 2017, something remarkable happened: debit card payments overtook cash as the UK’s preferred payment method. 98% of the population carry a debit card – and the majority of them feature NFC technology.

After a long time waiting in the wings, NFC payments found themselves driving a payment revolution. In 12 months, their use increased by 97%, with 5.6 billion transactions processed. Even more surprising is that not all of these transactions were made by card.


Say hello to mobile NFC payments

Mobile NFC payments also took off in 2017. The technology that helped phones share files has turned them into payment devices. Now, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Android Pay are becoming regular payment methods.

Mobile NFC payments are as quick and convenient as card-based contactless transactions, and even more secure, which may explain why they already outstrip payments by cheque and standing order.

But whether mobile or card-based, one thing is certain: the use of NFC transactions is set to keep growing. It’s predicted that, by 2026, British businesses will process 11 billion NFC transactions a year – a four-fold increase on 2016’s figures.

With this mass take-up of NFC payment, it’s clear that even the most micro of small businesses will need to accept NFC payment if they care about their future.


NFC Payment Security

Advanced encryption technologies ensure that NFC card payments are safe and secure. There’s also an NFC transaction limit of £30 in the UK. However, mobile NFC payments aren’t limited by this: there’s no upper transaction limit when making a contactless transaction by phone.

Transactions over £30 are called Higher Value contactless transactions, and mobile payment devices make them possible. This is because the owner must verify the transaction using either Touch ID or Facial Recognition technology as an additional security step.

So, NFC technology doesn’t just speed up payments for small, everyday items, but also big-ticket purchases. And that’s very good news for your business.

And just like other card payments, NFC transactions are protected against fraud by the issuing bank. With NFC payments, you’re guaranteed to be paid. Without dispute.


What are the benefits of accepting NFC Payments?


Queues cut down to size

The British may be infamous for queueing, but it doesn’t mean we have to like it. NFC transactions speed up transaction times, making light work of even the longest Black Friday queues, so you can process more sales per hour (or minute!). 

But that’s not the only time-saving feature: contactless payments are cashless payments, so along with the queues, you can say goodbye to trudging to the bank with a bag full of loose change. Plus, end-of-day reconciliations can be automated, helping you get you home sooner.

Even refunds are a speedy tap on the card reader rather than a logistical nightmare. And receipts can be generated via the machine or the till – whichever’s quickest.

We’re pretty speedy too: we can have a contactless-ready, NFC card machine delivered to you (and ready to work right out of the box) in just three days.


Fewer bank trips to the bank, and the till.

Contactless payments are cashless payments, so along with the queues, you can say goodbye to trudging to the bank with a bag full of loose change. Even refunds are a speedy tap on the card reader rather than a logistical nightmare. And receipts can be printed from the machine or till – whichever’s easiest for you.


No battery. No buying. No way.

On some phones, the NFC chip still works if the battery runs out during the day, but we wouldn’t suggest trying it if a phone’s been left uncharged in a drawer for months!


NFC – Cards. Phones. Anything.

NFC technology can be put into pretty much anything. Along with credit and debit cards, and smartphones, NFC has popped up in wristbands, rings and fobs – and we can expect even more diversity in the future. Some highly enthusiastic ‘early adopters’ have even implanted an NFC chip under their skin.


The cost of accepting NFC transactions

The good news is that it works out a little cheaper to process NFC transactions than Chip & PIN.

It’s not a huge amount but, over the year it adds up. And, of course, faster transactions save time, which, as we know, is money.

Even better news: it shouldn’t cost you anything to accept NFC payments. None of our customers pay additional fees for NFC transaction processing. All our card machines are contactless ready, whether they use a Countertop, Portable or Mobile card reader.

Not only this, they all come ready to work right out of the box, and we can have one with you in three working days.


How to accept NFC payments

There are plenty of reasons to add an NFC machine to your business, and there’s a reader that’s right for every company, from a fixed reader by the till, to a portable reader staff can take to customers, or a fully-mobile reader for businesses who take payments when they’re out and about.

We’ll do all we can to help you choose the right one, and the right package for your business.

We focus on small businesses, so we understand the challenges they face. This focus has made us the UK’s fastest-growing payments processing company, serving over 70,000 UK businesses and trusted with over £10 Bn in transactions each year.

To see how a NFC machine can benefit your business, get your free online quote today – and tap into the future of money.

Why wait? Take card payments in just 3 days.