Ever heard of the acronym NFC? You probably have glossed over it if you were looking for a smartwatch that had the ability to make digital payments with related devices in close proximity.
Technically speaking, NFC is a three-letter term that references “near field communication.” The official name gives away the benefit of NFC; when two related devices are in close proximity, they can communicate with each other by just being nearby.
One of the most popular devices that tried to use NFC way back in the days when mobile devices were first becoming popular were Palms.
These units were the predecessors of the iPod, borrowing the stylus and digital features of the Blackberry, but sticking with just Internet connections and texting as well as NFC for direct proximity communication.
Fast-forward to the 2020s, and NFC has come a long way from those early days. Now, the technology makes it possible for someone with an NFC-equipped smartwatch to also use it as a digital wallet, making payments with compatible recipient devices.
Folks today use NFC in a lot of places with their modern credit cards and tap and pay processors. Instead of inserting the card, one just places the card almost in contact after the charge is programmed, and the digital transaction takes place.
Gas pumps, retail stores and grocery outlets all use the feature these days, so it’s very convenient. NFC smartwatches take the technology further with wearable tech.
The NFC technology really boomed in 2020 when social distancing was required due to COVID.
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The Apple Watch
No surprise, the Apple Watch smartwatch is a leader in consumer wearable tech that makes sense from a daily life perspective.
The ability to connect with the Internet in every facet was fundamental to the device’s design, and that means connecting with e-commerce as well.
However, simply being able to use Apple Pay was not enough. Additionally, the Apple Watch was also equipped with NFC capability. Basic models originally only allowed storage of 8 payment cards, but now they offer up to 12.
And, in addition to the payment features, the Apple Watch also integrates the ability to use classic fitness monitoring, phone and cell connections, health tracking and even time.
Wearing the Apple Watch, one has to wonder why they still need a smartphone with them if they are not taking photos.
The Ticwatch Pro 3
- OS Watch Qualcomm Snapdragon
- Platform Health Fitness Monitor
- 3-45 Days Battery Life
- Heart Rate Sleep Tracking
While it is not the most recognizable name and brand, in terms of NFC capability, the TicWatch Pro 3 is a robust package. It also helps that the model is very competitive with a price point under $300.
Apple Watch premium beat that! The TicWatch scores big points in appearance and reliability, durable design, as well as the fact that it puts the big names on notice with really darn good performance.
Additionally, the TicWatch has compatibility with both Android and iPhone devices, covering bets in both OS worlds, as well as broadening their market.
As an NFC tool, the TicWatch had to make a choice and leaned over into the Android world with Google Pay.
That means credit cards are added using the Google procedure for doing so, managing them with Google Pay online, and then being able to use the TicWatch at retail points accordingly.
Interestingly, the TicWatch puts some emphasis on safety and security. It requires the user to implement three levels of protection with a password, a PIN and then patterns of entry. It’s a hell of a challenge for someone else to break casually.
Galaxy Watch 4
- 42mm Smartwatch with ECG Monitor Tracker for Health
- Sleep Cycles
- GPS Fall Detection
Samsung, Apple’s tech nemesis in the mobile device world, isn’t about to leave the market to the California company.
Instead, Samsung produced the Galaxy Watch 4, which also includes NFC technology as well. Competitive in all features that the Apple Watch can provide, the Galaxy Watch is very functional.
That said, don’t bother trying to match it to any Apple devices; it won’t work. There’s no iOS compatibility.
The compatibility of Samsung’s NFC setup is fairly widespread. In many urban areas, folks practically feel like they can just wear the watch and not even carry a wallet at all.
The control system is very intuitive and adding payment accounts is a snap for most users. The one Achilles’ Heel of the device is that it needs an Internet connection to start or change its payment miracles.
For whatever reason, the Galaxy Watch won’t add or change accounts without a live connection.
Fortunately, that’s not the case when using it for making payments. Android users love the Galaxy Watch as the features are very familiar to them via OS style. And the watch also includes GPS with a solid military-grade build as well. Nice.
Don’t be Quick to Grab the Latest NFC Option
There are other options, and more will become available on the market. Progress never sits still in this area these days.
However, if folks find a new option that promises far more, let it sit on the market for a bit to work out the implementation bugs.
Too often a new mobile device comes out and doesn’t have the network support or infrastructure to support it long-term on the market.
Then consumers end up stuck with a useless, expensive toy that does nothing. It’s usually better to pay a bit more for a device on a stable, widely-used platform than to grab the latest thing brand new but unproven.