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Pay With a Cell Phone?

New technology could help cell phone payments thrive.

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This story appears in the October 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Cell phones make sense as vehicles for short-range , cashless payments. They're almost as ubiquitous as wallets and purses and are usually kept right at hand. Near Field Communication is a developing that could help make contactless payments more widespread. Testing is already underway, and industry association NFC Forum took the key step of releasing the technology architecture and some initial specifications in June.

NFC also has a variety of potential uses for data transfer, syncing devices and even accessing online digital content. One possibility involves embedding NFC tags in billboards or ads so passersby can use their NFC-capable phones to instantly act on an offer or get more information.

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