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Cashless Societies: South Korea Makes A Major Push With NFC

South Korea's communications commission also said on Monday that it would require mobile phone vendors to equip all smartphones with near field communication (NFC) technology, which allows wireless data exchanges at short range, letting people pay for goods, store electronic tickets, collect coupons by swiping a cell phone at a checkout or scanning tags on movie posters. So far, only two NFC-enabled handsets have been offered in South Korea -- Samsung's Galaxy S II and Pantech's Vega Racer -- and a lack of standardised settlement checkouts at retailers, and disagreements over fee-sharing structure and controlling customer information have prevented the industry from taking off. The domestic smartphone market has exploding more than ten-fold to top 10 million handsets in just 18 months, or about a fifth of the population, but the mobile payment market, which some say could eventually replace credit and debit cards as the primary means of payment, has been slower to take off.

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