Contactless technology like NFC conjure up images of simply and lightly tapping on surfaces to initiate an action, be it authentication or even payment. What those scenarios don’t often include is the initial setup that has to be done beforehand, like downloading an app and signing into a service. Apple, however, seems to be leading the way towards that the true realization of that fantasy with NFC tags that trigger Apple Pay, all without setting up anything other than Apple Pay first.
Given the wide variety of uses for such NFC contact points, it’s not that puzzling to imagine why you’d need to prepare beforehand. Different services require different accounts, for one. Understandable but not ideal, especially if you’re caught unprepared for something you do only occasionally.
At the TRANSACT conference in Las Vegas, Apple veep for Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey revealed the ideal situation, at least for renting scooters or paying parking meters. All users will need to do is to tap their NFC-equipped iPhone and confirm the Apple Pay transaction. No apps, no setups, no sign-ins.
Part of that magic is made possible by the NFC tags themselves. Currently, almost all NFC-based mobile payment solutions involve conspicuous terminals and large machines. These NFC tags can simply be stuck onto any surface, from bikes to even clothing rails.
Of course, it doesn’t happen all by magic and requires partnerships between companies. In Apple Pay’s case, Cupertino has signed deals with Bird for scooters, Bonobos for clothing stores, and PayByPhone for parking meters. Hopefully, this is just the start of a journey towards a true, hassle-free contactless mobile payment future.