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Spend $1 on 2 NFC tags to test it out yourself

The First Prototype
5 min readMay 15, 2020

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Many of you must have heard/read about NFC, and possibly used it to pay using Google Wallet or Apple pay. As developers, we are gifted with the knowledge and ability to actually interact and create products that use such technologies. It may seem intimidating since you may not be familiar with electronics at first, but the good thing is that these cost about a dollar a piece, so it’s alright even if you blow one up. You can follow this article with no programming experience, as it breaks down how you can be an innovator who empowers your company to use NFC in their products & services.

What are these and how can I use them?

You can think of NFC tags as minuscule flash drives that you can use to wirelessly store and retrieve tiny bits of information from, that can also be made “read-only”. Hence, you can use it for various purposes- uniquely identifying people or shipments, unlocking special features in games when users buy memorabilia, tracking cash credits at festivals so you don’t have to worry about carrying and losing cash/cards. You can ensure security in various ways, and using mobile apps makes that much easier.

What are all the limitations?

There are many different types of RFID tags, so the iOS & Android support for them also varies. It’s important to understand and only purchase the NFC tags that are supported by both platforms, which until October 2019 was just — NDEF, MIFARE, ISO/IEC 14443, ISO/IEC 15693, ISO/IEC 7816 & FeliCa.

For iOS, iPhones 7 and later allow reading and writing to NFC tags, and only iPhones XS and later offer background tag reading. For Android, many new phones still don’t ship with NFC capabilities to maintain a low price, so you have to specifically look for it while purchasing.

Getting Started

Who will take my Loonies for NFC Tags?

To find the best tags to purchase, I searched “NFC Smart Tags” on the Chinese electronics site popular with tinkerers globally. I ended up purchasing these 3 different variations of the same thing:

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