NFC: Coming to a Laptop Near You

When most people think of near-field communications (NFC), they think smartphones.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) has been pushing it pretty aggressively into Android phones, laying the foundation for Google Wallet. Apple may bring it into next year's iPhone, after this year's omission.

The NFC revolution is going to include a plethora of companies seeking to make it that much easier to access your digital wallet. On one end, you have NFC chip makers, such as first-mover NXP Semiconductors (Nasdaq: NXPI  ) , while Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM  ) is jumping in along with chip giants such as Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) and Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM  ) , for starters.

On the other end, you have payment processors getting onboard like Visa (NYSE: V  ) and MasterCard (NYSE: MA  ) , trying to make it easier for consumers to make purchases in hopes of increasing their own money-making opportunities. You even have wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile asking for an invite with their ISIS network.

The latest development in NFC is bringing the technology to laptops and involves a pairing of two of the aforementioned players: Intel and MasterCard. The duo has announced a multiyear strategic partnership combining MasterCard's NFC-based PayPass with Intel's Ultrabook initiative.

By adding NFC PayPass support into laptop PCs, the companies hope to "enhance the security and consumer payment experience for online shopping." Gone will be the days when you had to enter your credit card information when ordering that new pair of shoes online. In its place, you will tap a PayPass-enabled card or smartphone directly onto your Ultrabook laptop. The partners promise more payment safety from malware and hackers by using Intel's Identity Protection Technology, which uses hardware and software authentication.

Not to mention also making all your impulse Internet buys that much easier to snap up, as common sense and frugality sometimes tend to sink in while you're digging through your wallet to find your credit card digits.

Including NFC on laptops isn't entirely new: Lenovo added the functionality as an option for its ThinkPad offering a while back. But now that the gaggle of heavyweights are all rallying behind the movement, you can expect this time to be different.

If you still need more on NFC, you're in luck. It just so happens that we have a free video report on NFC for your viewing pleasure. On top of that, NFC leader NXP Semiconductors is an official Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation; sign up for a free trial to read why it may be worth a spot in your portfolio.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple and AT&T, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of MasterCard, Apple, Qualcomm, Intel, and Google and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Visa, Intel, Google, Apple, and NXP Semiconductors and creating bull call spread positions in Apple and Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On November 17, 2011, at 6:29 PM, KimFraiser wrote:

    I found this great mobile payments app that doesn't require a phone with NFC. It is called CSI globalVCard and it allows me to generate one time use credit cards on my smartphone and tablet. It's a great way to start making secure and safe mobile payments now without having to wait for NFC technology!

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