NFC versus RFID

Near field communication (NFC) and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) are wireless communication technologies that connect two wireless devices. The devices in NFC are placed close to each other, while in RFID, they can be situated at some distance because it uses radio frequency. Yet, its limitation is same as that of radio waves. The credit of discovering NFC technology goes to Sony and NXP semiconductors in 2002. Near field communications can be used in mobile phones while for radio frequency, we need separate devices. NFC technology is becoming more widely used because it is used for making payments with the help of smartphones. NFC technology can be embedded in a smartphone. Furthermore, RFID is an older technology than NFC. RFID can also be used for making payments, car-sharing, toll roads, and season parking tickets.

Working of NFC and RFID

NFC technology is actually embedded in a chip which can be installed in your smartphone, tablet or your palmtop. The working of NFC technology is very simple. All you need to do is to buy an NFC embedded smartphone. There you will find a simple form in the phone where you have to enter all the credit card or bank account details. After activating it, you can do your shopping with your smartphone. At the time of payment, you need to swipe your phone at the required place. There also exists a forum known as Near Field Communications Forum that is committed to make the technology better. This forum also works for the sharing and pairing between NFC devices. This technology is so robust and powerful that it can behave like your ID card, keycard, and also your credit card. With NFC, your phone is very versatile.

RFID is more popular than near field communications because it has a wider spectrum of uses. The mechanism of RFID depends upon the radio frequency. All its features are activated by using radio waves. A radio frequency can be active or passive or sometimes both but the NFC technology always work upon passive frequency. The expected working range of near field communication is in few centimeters while for RFID, it is in meters. One present use of RFID technology is the tracking of animals in reserved wildlife forests and parks. It is also used for tracking your car and used by detectives to track criminals. RFID mainly works by forming tags. Bluetooth and NFC both are short range technology for sharing and receiving. However, NFC requires less power than Bluetooth. Also, there are various threats attached to NFC like eaves-dropping, relay attack, lost properties, walk-offs, and data modification.


The NFC is an essential extension of RFID. However RFID has a wider covering range and for NFC, as the name suggests, its transmission is restricted to a small range. Near field communication technology can’t be used for security purposes as it is confined up to a few centimeters whereas RFID has wider applications. Nevertheless, one of the great features of NFC is that Near field communications can be installed in portable devices like smartphones.