Pay contactless: Established and on the rise

Pay contactless
Established and on the rise

Thanks to NFC technology, it is now possible to pay with your smartphone almost anywhere.

Thanks to NFC technology, it is now possible to pay with your smartphone almost anywhere.

© Rido/

Cashless payments are now widely established, as a current study shows. What is important when it comes to digital payment.

The trend towards less cash has been apparent for some time, but the corona pandemic has accelerated the development enormously. In the meantime, the technical possibilities of the future have arrived and in addition to paying with your bank card, the watch or the mobile as a source of money has become a reality.

A new Bitkom study showsthat in the third quarter of the year 90 percent of citizens made contactless payments at least once, half of the country uses the option much more frequently (several times a week). 46 percent of Germans use their mobile phone or smartwatch, with 74 percent among 16 to 29-year-olds.

Mobile payment is simple – if you know how

In order to be able to pay with a smartphone or smartwatch, the respective end device must have a NFC-chip feature. NFC stands for Near Field Communication and describes the function of the chip, which can communicate wirelessly with authorized recipient devices. Not all cell phones have such chips, but in principle numerous Android smartphones since 2012 and iPhones from the sixth generation are equipped with NFC technology.

Activation works differently depending on the device and operating system generation. Simply searching for “NFC” in the settings will do the trick in most cases. Basically, the account of a payment app such as Apple Pay, Google Pay or, in the meantime, many bankingapp paired with NFC technology. However, banks in particular sometimes need a little time for their apps to deliver updates for the latest hardware generation.

How secure is NFC?

Although the NFC standard is now ten years old technology, in most cases it works smoothly and has proven itself over the years. As the two NFC devices communicate with each other, a code is generated that encrypts the communication and cannot be copied. What is “said” stays under the customer’s smartphone and the supermarket checkout, so to speak. The NFC function is now also often the standard for bank cards.

To protect against possible misuse, advises the consumer center, NFC-enabled bank cards in a protective cover that makes unwanted radio communication impossible. With smartphones and smartwatches, you have the option of having to authorize payments by PIN, fingerprint or FaceID, or to set an upper limit for payments. However, because communication only takes place in close proximity and is also automatically interrupted as soon as more than two NFC chips communicate with each other, the technology is very difficult for criminals to abuse.


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