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What are NFC Payments?


What are NFC Payments?

NFC, also known as Near Field Communication, is a form of technology that allows two devices to exchange information when they are close together. With NFC technology, customers can complete contactless payments using their smartphone or watch via Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay, or using tap-to-pay credit and debit cards when close to a card reader.

As this form of mobile payment is dynamically encrypted, there is an exchange of a unique encryption algorithm during every transaction. 

Common forms of NFC payments include Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay.

How does NFC work?

NFC or Near Field Communication technology enables devices to communicate wirelessly when they are in close proximity to each other. 

This technology is a branch of RFID technology, which uses radio waves to identify or scan items. RFID, also known as Radio Frequency Identification, is used commonly around the world and has been used in many different ways throughout the decades the technology has been around for. 

NFC uses a specific RFID frequency (13.56MHz), to facilitate close-range communication between devices. Therefore, when a contactless card or other payment device is held near a reader, the payment is initiated. This results in the card reader and smart device passing encrypted information to each other in order for the payment to be authorised and completed.

Why should I use NFC payments?

  • Secure payments - with dynamic encryption, each transaction results in the creation of a completely unique algorithm to be created.

  • As dynamic encryption constantly mutates, code breaking is practically impossible, adding a layer of security to payments.

  • Speedy payments - manually entering PIN codes can often take time. With NFC payments, you can keep queues moving whilst taking payments effectively throughout the day.

  • Convenience - paying through contactless methods offer customers a far more convenient alternative to carrying around cards or cash.

  • High value contactless transactions - shoppers can complete high value contactless transactions using their smartwatch or smartphone. Transactions are biometrically authenticated which are more secure than standard card payments where there is a £45 limit.

How to accept NFC payments

It can be a fairly straightforward process to allow your customers to pay wirelessly. In order to accept NFC payments, you will need to have an NFC-enabled POS (Point Of Service) system, installed as standard on Opayo terminals.

You can choose to install a card reader or payment terminal that can accept contactless payments. All you then need is a customer to move their card, mobile device or smart watch closer than 2 inches from the reader. The transaction will then be made automatically from the NFC tags on the customer’s device. After this has been completed, you will just need to follow the same steps as usual when accepting standard credit card payments to finish the payment process. 

For further information, take a look at our POS terminals. 



Opayo is one of the UK’s most trusted payment service providers. Our aim is to help your business grow and accept payments in a way that is ideal for your specific requirements. 

If you would like to talk to us about NFC payments, feel free to contact our team on 0191 313 0299. We offer specialist support 24/7, 365 days a year, whether you have a big or small question. Alternatively, take a look at our ebook for further help and advice on accepting NFC mobile payments.