How to Make a Non-NFC Phone NFC-Enabled?

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Nowadays you may often hear about Google Wallet and Visa PayWave. Paying with your phone may be cool. However, it requires your phone to be NFC-equipped. Of course you can pick out one of those NFC-ready smartphones you like in the marketplace, but if you still want to keep your current phone, here are three options available to turn your non-NFC phone into an NFC-enabled phone, including using an NFC Micro SD memory card, an NFC SIM card or an NFC sticker. By far, any mobile phone could fit into one of those categories, so you may try yours.

How to turn your non-NFC phone into an NFC-enabled phone using an NFC Micro SD card

Many smartphones these days have an option for adding extra memory, except iPhone perhaps. Among those options, Micro SD is a popular choice, since they’re small, flexible and currently add as much as 64 GB of extra storage to your cell phone. The good news is that there is more than one NFC-enabled Micro SD in the marketplace for your choice.

Device Fidelity’s In2Pay Micro SD solution was the first to market. It works on Symbian, Windows mobile 6.x or Blackberry. As Android is the real selling point for many, the company has also added support for it. This NFC Micro SD solution has an integrated software-controlled antenna and uses a browser UI which requires no software to be installed on your phone. Visa has certified DeviceFidelity’s In2Pay NFC micro SD add-on, so you may use PayWave on your now NFC-enabled phone. But in fact, this is not the only option.

Typhone may not be the first company to introduce an NFC Micro SD solution, but its NFC-enabled Micro SD solution is ISO 14443/MIFARE compliant, which means it meets the NFC Forum’s specifications. The solution is designed to be compatible with MasterCard PayPass or Visa PayWave. A secure element is also embedded inside the Micro SD card. Typhone states on their website that their solution will work “on ANY mobile phone using ANY network operator infrastructure” — a bold claim for sure.

Netcom, a Chinese manufacturer, has also demonstrated its solution at Computex 2011. The solution adds to the NFC Micro SD concept by adding a USB interface, but on the company’s website it only states that this function is supported by Windows. Hence, Mac users may not be able to plug the solution into their iMacs just yet. Netcom’s NFC SD card is also SDHC compliant, which will be good for some users who have the larger SD slot, as they can use a converter and still enjoy some sweet NFC payments action.

How to turn your non-NFC phone into an NFC-enabled phone with an NFC SIM Card

The phone carriers also have an idea on how you could turn your non-NFC phone into an NFC-enabled phone by using an NFC-enabled SIM card. In the United States, the ISIS Joint Venture, comprising of Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, are supporting NFC-enabled SIM cards which coincidentally can be locked to a specific carrier, Nuff, for example. NFC-enabled SIMs work well and we expect to see a lot more hitting the market in the future.

How to turn your non-NFC phone into an NFC-enabled phone with NFC stickers

Since Osama Bedier, VP of Payments for Google, let slip that NFC stickers could theoretically work in allowing you to turn your non-NFC phone into an NFC-enabled phone, the rumor has been a buzz. Google has planned to release a special sticker that will allow phones without built-in NFC capabilities to access the Google Wallet app. The Google Wallet special sticker can be attached to the back of the phone and works like a single-purpose NFC chip. It will only work for the app and it can only be set to accommodate a single credit card. Yet no actual product is available for the time being.

It is for sure that there will be other options coming to market allowing you to turn your non-NFC phone into an NFC-enabled phone. So let’s just wait to see it.