A new study predicts that one in five smartphones will be equipped for near field communication, or NFC (a short-distance wireless technology used to make payments via mobile phone) by 2014. The uptick correlates with retailers’ increasing implementation of NFC payment terminals in their stores — a major player who recently successfully embraced the mobile payment system, for example, is Starbucks.
The Jupiter Research study estimates that North America, followed by France, will lead the way in using NFC. As the system gets off the ground, potential complications might arise from the glut of different contenders (manufacturers, merchandisers, Google) and their various interests. And, as with any new payment system, there’s the persistent question of security — though the short range of NFC transactions makes it harder to hack the system via traditional methods. Ultimately though, NFC’s speed, along with a general rise of the mobile wallet, may help pave the way for the technology to become mainstream. We’ll be interested to see if the research firm’s prediction is correct — in that case, there’ll be 300 million smartphones employing NFC technology in a little more than two years.