Addition Of Nfc Payment Systems Computer Science Essay

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This report evaluates the option for addition of NFC payment systems in addition to the cash and card system. Addition of NFC in payment system will be a boon for customers as well as us. Also the number of NFC enabled mobile phones in the market is increasing. So in future, more people will be interested in using commercial mobile phones with NFC enabled hardware.

Near field communication is now becoming a widely accepted and adopted technology for payment applications and transferring data/information. The working distance of NFC is about 10cms. Hence it can be defined as a short range communication technology. 13.56MHZ is the operating frequency of NFC. But 424 Kbits per second can be the rate for transmitting data. Two devices with the same technology (i.e., NFC) can identify themselves within a distance of 4cm. Even though there are lot of wireless devices used now due to its advantages NFC differs from them all. NFC can act both as an active and passive device. This is another big advantage that NFC possesses when compared to other contactless communication technologies.

The results in using NFC for payment application shows that its more secure than other contactless communication technologies due its short operating range(within 10 cm distance). With technology improving each day the addition of NFC payment system in our shops is very much necessary. So NFC enabled cash registers should be installed to detect mobile phones with NFC chips in it. The transaction by NFC payment system is very fast as the mobile device with NFC chip would be identified in split second by NFC enabled cash register. Understanding what the customer wants to use is important before any investment. NFC payment systems would be accepted by both hands as it will make their shopping experience easier, faster and convenient.


Technical aspects

Compared to other close range communication technologies like RFID, BLUETOOTH etc NFC differs from them in range, usability, selectivity and customer experience. Range for RFID can be up to 3m while Bluetooth can be up to 30m. It is very difficult to eavesdrops on NFC as its operating range is very short (10 cm)(Montes 2009).

Software technology

Peer to peer mode, read/write mode and card emulation mode are the three different modes of communication. Devices should meet the above standards to manageably use NFC. Contactless communication API based on java MIDlet is the technology that helps NFC devices to identify signals from other devices and hence communicate with them(Montes 2009).


External targets

Sim cardd

Smart card



Figure of contactless API

First this application checks all the targets which are in its range. Then if the targets are supporting the NFC format then next step is followed. Once the correct code is run, it will register the target which wants to connect to the device by activating the push registry. Push registry also activates the MIDlet after this. Characteristics of the target are understood by this application. Then any mode of communication like read, write and emulation can be interchanged by this. All open connections will be closed once every operation is complete(Montes 2009).



There are different security provisions based on mode and scheme. Active and passive are two modes in NFC communication. A device is active once it generates its own R field otherwise it is passive. Three cases are possible in NFC as it is a two way communication. Two devices can both be in active mode, both in passive mode or one active and other passive are the possible cases. Amplitude shift keying, Manchester coding and miller coding are different schemes used in active and passive data transfer. Manchester coding is used in passive data transfer. While Amplitude shift keying (106k baud rate) and Miller coding (above 106k baud rate) are used in active data transfer. Information exchanged by active mode will be transferred differently from data send by passive mode. During transfer of data the role that a device plays be it initiator or target is very important. Initiator cannot talk to all targets around the same time. Only when it replies to initiator the target device sends a message(Montes 2009).

Threats using NFC technology and methods to counter them

Eavesdropping the common threat in wireless devices cannot be ruled out for NFC as well even though its operating range is 10cm. Eavesdropping is difficult in passive data mode transfer (as success can be only up to 1m). But in active mode Eavesdropping can be up to 10m. Secure connection is the only way to prevent this mode attacks(Montes 2009).

Data corruption, Data modification and Data insertion are the common cases where an attack can be successfully achieved by an attacker. With data corruption an attacker can decode the information send by sender to receiver. An attacker who has good knowledge in coding and modulation can conduct this attack. R.F field in NFC devices can counter this by detecting the attack. Data modification is not a common scenario. In Manchester coding with 10 % ASK and Miller coding with 100% ASK it is possible to change some of the bits. If R.F field of attack is continuously checked by the sender device then this type of attack can be dealt. When a replying device takes long time to reply back then attack can be successful in the case of data insertion. Attack would be successful only if the attacker is able to send the message before the actual replying device. Otherwise it would be corrupted. This threat can be countered if the replying device sends the message without a pause. Secure channel and detecting the channel which is crossing over are other methods to counter this attack(Montes 2009).

An RF field is always there in one of the devices as one of them should be either in active/passive mode. The interference and disturbances caused by other devices in closed proximity will be taken care by the RF field generated by one of the devices in active mode. NFC specific key agreement is another method to confirm the security of using NFC devices. This method works if the same data is not send at the same time by the two devices in contact. Then attacker won’t be able to detect