/// The iPhone 5 Doesn’t Have NFC — So What?
With last Wednesday’s Apple iPhone 5 unveiling, and the recent Nokia Lumia launch, mobile is on top of the media agenda. But as the screen size and connector stories die down, the question of “when will my mobile phone become my wallet?” rises up once again. I’ve read at least a dozen stories about the NFC-less iPhone 5 in the past few days, and my question remains, who cares? It baffles me why almost everyone uses the terms “mobile wallet” and “digital wallet” interchangeably, and why so many people further constrain the already-limited idea of a mobile wallet by equating it with Near Field Communication (NFC). Let me be crystal clear on these two points: Your mobile phone won’t be the one device that will forever banish your leather wallet to the back of a drawer. It will, however, be an important access point to your digital wallet — which will live in the cloud and follow you wherever you go. NFC is a technology, not a strategy. It enables communication between two devices that are close to each other (hence the name). It is not the Holy Grail for mobile payments. Why mobile wallets are not digital wallets Simply put, the term “mobile wallet” refers to when the actual mobile phone, or other mobile device, becomes the wallet. All of your financial information, such as bank account and credit card numbers, are stored on the mobile device, and you need to have the device with you for the transaction to be possible. Digital wallets exist in the cloud. They are not tethered to one specific device such as a mobile phone, but are accessible from a variety of devices (laptop, iPad, ultrabook, Xbox, etc.) and in a number of ways. Sensitive financial information is stored in the cloud, not on the actual device. Already, at The Home Depot, you can pay without ever pulling anything out of your pocket at all. You can pay just using your phone number and PIN that directly connects to your digital wallet. But this is just the beginning of the revolution. For example, let’s say you’re in your car and you want to drive through the local fast food joint. Instead of whipping out your wallet or looking for your phone, you “check in” to the fast food joint’s point-of-sale system (POS) using the digital wallet accessible from your car’s connected onboard computer. The restaurant immediately recognizes you from the image transmitted when you check in, and can look at what you’ve previously bought at that restaurant via your digital wallet
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The iPhone 5 Doesn’t Have NFC — So What?