Why Apple Doesn't Support NFC Payment on the iPhone

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Apple is the only major player in the smartphone market that does not offer consumers at least one model with a near field communications chip. The big question is why Apple is skipping out on a feature offered by its biggest competition, leaving it absent from the iPhone 5 and leaving its Passbook mobile wallet without the NFC capability?

NFC chips, quite simply, allow devices to create a connection and transfer a small amount of data over a very short distance. This distance, usually measured in millimeters or centimeters, means that near field contact has to be very close. For the time being, the near field chips most end users will be familiar with are the ones inside your debit card, as near field technology is often used for swipeless payment systems.

See also: Why the Glacial Adoption of the Mobile Wallet

As you can imagine, this makes security in NFC transactions paramount. Sadly, this may be one of the barriers to Apple adopting the technology with the same zeal as Google. Bryan Leeds, the co-founder of Xsync, a mobile document sharing company, believes security to be the major inhibition.

“My team and I believe that Apple isn't using NFC because it’s unproven and not secure," he said. "Apple is never the first mover with new technology. They see how tech develops in the market and then makes it better. Google Wallet has not gone well, to say the least.”

Security issues on this platform stem not only from the traditional types of attacks common to any wireless network but also the security issues that are inherent to all mobile devices. Add to that the fact that some platforms allow users to generate their own near field tags, and that some tags can be activated passively. Quickly, it's clear to see how NFC faces challenges.