NFC had a good year in 2015, but the best is yet to come

Last updated: 07 January 2016

There are only a few more taps of your NFC transport and payment cards to go until you’ll be unwrapping your Christmas presents and thinking back on the year. For NFC, it has been pretty momentous, with global consumer awareness growing and strong adoption in many parts of the world.

In the U.S. mobile payments via NFC are forecast to triple in 2016 to $27 billion, and China is about to open its borders to both Samsung Pay and Apple Pay. In Europe, contactless payments are set to soar nine-fold by 2020 to make up 13% of all card payments­­. Further, according to a report by Eurosmart, there were 490 million NFC Secure Elements shipped in 2015, up 40% from 2014.

And these advances are happening all over the world. Take Spain as an example: Valencia now has a fully integrated NFC transport system across local buses, trams and trains; Malaga and Logroño both have NFC enabled buses; and Madrid is testing solutions to bring contactless ticketing to its inhabitants and Vodafone has jointly launched with TESA a corporate offer for physical access control (this latest in Spanish). Everywhere you look NFC is taking off nicely with commercial projects.

NFC is one of those technologies that you only need to use once to understand its benefits. And the simplicity of the user experience is certainly attracting millennials who expect everything to work without friction. We recently teamed up with an eclectic mix of people from across the world to get a glimpse into their everyday experiences of using NFC. If you click the links, you’ll be able to see how they got on:

Final NFC image

  • Over in London, photographer Jamie, fashion editor Pandora and ceramicist Billy showed us a secret side to the city.
  • Meanwhile, restaurant owner Lindsay, food bloggers Nicole and Eugene, and writer Kawai took us on a tour of Hong Kong.
  • Finally in Chicago, chef Cosmo, Hip-Hop record producer Thelonious; and Matthew a designer gave us an intimate view of their city.

I found it very interesting to see how different cultures are embracing NFC. By showing us a day in their lives, we saw how NFC is letting them get around, and pay for shopping, meals, and ticket, far easier than ever before. And with certain countries increasing the amount of money that can be spent in a single transaction, it’s clear next year will be even bigger for NFC.

Have you got a NFC card or a mobile app either for payments or your subway? I’d love to hear about how you find the experience, and what you’d like to see from NFC to come in the future. Let me know either in the comments or @Gemalto.