In Australia, NFC technology is not being utilised for mobile payments as well as it should be.

This is our opportunity to truly integrate our real world with our digital world.

What is NFC?

So what is NFC technology? Near Field Communication and you’re already using it, probably every day. It is the PayPass you use every day to buy lunch, it is the Opal or Myki card that you tap on and off buses and trams in Sydney and Melbourne. It is also starting to creep into our outdoor advertising where you can tap an NFC sticker or tag and get exclusive content. But it can be so much more. If you own an iPhone 6 you have NFC built into your phone.

NFC is cool. It allows you to wave your mobile (or iPad or NFC enabled device) at anything with the NFC icon on it and the two devices transfer data between them to open up content on your device or share information (as in a payment). No-longer will you have to bother with scanning a QR code to get taken to a website homepage, now you just wave your iPhone 6 and the content will appear.NFC donations at charity events

So how can charities use NFC technology in their mobile marketing & fundraising?

Well – that is the $64,000 question (where did that saying come from?) Here are some mobile fundraising ideas I have – please get in touch if you’d like to give one of them a try.

  • Instead of rattling a bucket for coins at your next running event, you can have an NFC terminal for people to tap and make a donation (at our Making the Most of Mobile seminar on 17 November we’ll cover how you could capture their details as well as their payment)
  • When you send Direct Mail packs (premium acquisition pack perhaps) you could send an NFC sticker or tag with some extraordinary video/ audio/ content to surprise and delight your prospective donor
  • At conferences or events you can put an NFC token in your lanyard or wristband for attendees use to check in at stalls or tap it against promotions when they more information sent to them. They could tap it at the end of a swim or run to calculate their finish time information
  • For your next appeal you can send a NFC sticker that with a wave takes your donor direct to your mobile friendly donation page
  • If you have real world shops (like Oxfam’s Fair Trade shops or Vinnies charity shops) you could have NFC point of sale tags that allow the shopping to wave their phone and see a video showing that item being made and where it has come from – or for an op-shop perhaps it will show how the money helps Vinnies achieve its mission.

NFC wristband for charity eventsBut I guess now you know how you could use NFC, I should take a step back and tell you a bit more about it.

Why would I use NFC in my phone?

NFC can remember passwords for you. NFC can connect your phone’s bluetooth with your car and allow you to use maps or iTunes through Siri commands.

But the really cool stuff, that of course is NOT AVAILABLE IN AUSTRALIA YET, is that NFC technology can allow you to enter your credit card details and buy stuff in store by waving your phone and using your fingerprint on the home button to confirm the payment. It’s arguably more secure than pin numbers. But it is also arguably going to put our one and only, unique fingerprints at risk of counterfeit.

I should say that NFC technology is available with Android phones but you need an App to make it work. With Apple iPhone 6 it has been included in the software.NFC mobile marketing for outdoor advertising

Apple Pay using NFC technology

Apple have been promising NFC technology in the last few iPhones but it has delivered in the iPhone 6 and if you live in America, it launched with Apple Pay announcing that Amex, Mastercard and Visa are now supporting Apple Pay.

How it would work:

  1. User needs iOS8 or above
  2. User must have iPhone6 or above and iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3
  3. User scans their credit card info into Apple Wallet (where Apple Pay is if you have US settings)
  4. When you go into a store that accepts NFC payments (like PayPass and PayWave) and the merchant bank has signed on, you would
    1. point your phone at the NFC device or sticker or tag and click the home button on your iPhone (with your fingerprint stored) and the payment will be confirmed.

But again, its not available to us in Australia. Not because we don’t have the technology, but because our banks haven’t come on board yet.

The NFC opportunity for charities

For organisations that do a lot of events or have a large flagship peer-to-peer event each year, I see so many opportunities to make it easier to activate people and improve not only your registration to participation ratio but also your fundraising. NFC can make it easy for people to give right there at the moment of inspiration and not mean to give when they get home, but never really do.

All we need to do is make sure we can capture their details at the same time as we engage their with content at an event, or get the payment/ donation and we’re laughing!