Skip to main content
Search
Services
TECHNOLOGY

Your cell phone is so money

By Lauren Aaronson
Popular Science

story.nfc.chip.jpg
A tiny add-on chip will turn your cell phone into a credit card, bus schedule, concert ticket and more.

YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS

Popular Science
Wireless Phones

(PopSci.comexternal link) -- Forgot your wallet? You'll need a better excuse than that for passing on the check. By next year, you'll be able to pay simply by swiping your cell phone a few inches from a cash register, with a new wireless standard called Near Field Communication.

An NFC chip in your phone will send your credit-card number -- stored on your phone or on the chip -- by way of short-distance radio waves.

An electronic reader at the checkout will decode the number and ring up your purchase. Unlike radio-frequency identification (RFID) and other existing contactless payment systems, NFC chips allow two-way information exchange by rolling an RF transmitter and reader into one five-millimeter package.

That means the chip can also take in data, such as a receipt zapped to it by a cash register or a bus schedule from a tag embedded in a bus-stop sign.

You don't even have to buy a new phone. When it hits stores next spring, the miniSD-card-size adapter from SanDisk can add NFC to any smartphone with a Symbian operating system when it hits stores next spring.

The first pay-by-phone option should roll out later this year, with more applications to follow.

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Get up-to-the minute news from CNN
CNN.com gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
Top Stories
Get up-to-the minute news from CNN
CNN.com gives you the latest stories and video from the around the world, with in-depth coverage of U.S. news, politics, entertainment, health, crime, tech and more.
Search JobsMORE OPTIONS


 
Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines