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Samsung, Visa jump on the NFC bandwagon

ISIS NFC sales transactions drawing (Nov 2010) Samsung and Visa announced today plans to bring near field communication (NFC) payment technology to attendees of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Attendees of the Summer Olympics And Paralympic Games, which are sponsored by Samsung and Visa, will be able to use their smartphones to make purchases “before and during the Games,” according to a press release on the matter.

The companies say this will “transform the payment experience in London and globally,” as they hope the implementation of NFC technology will “leave a lasting legacy in the market post-2012.”

To make payments using the NFC system, customers must purchase a special handset, which will be made available prior to and during the games. The handsets will also be distributed to Samsung-sponsored athletes. The handsets will come loaded with “Visa-enabled” SIM cards.

Samsung and Visa are only the latest to join the NFC-payment party. Earlier this week, reports indicated that Google and Mastercard are teaming up to test out NFC “digital wallet” technology in New York and San Francisco. Google’s Nexus S smartphone is currently the only Android phone that supports NFC payments. But the partnership with Mastercard is said to be a first step toward including NFC in all Android-based devices.

Microsoft is also said to be working on bringing NFC technology to its Windows Phone 7 operating system.

One major player that has yet to unveil its NFC plans (or lack thereof) is Apple. A variety of rumors have surfaced recently about the inclusion of NFC in Apple’s next-generation handset, the iPhone 5. While some say Apple does not intend to include the technology, other, equally-anonymous sources claim they do.

Regardless of how Apple plays it, NFC is obviously going to be one of the next big features available to consumers as smartphones take on an even more significant role in people’s lives.

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