FAQ

FAQ2019-10-24T13:55:22+00:00

Recently Asked Questions

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Have you an example N mark that I can show to managers how it works – for instance and N mark to this website?2020-03-17T13:57:12+00:00

You may find more information about the N-Mark on our FAQ’s here: https://nfc-forum.org/faq/n-mark-faqs/

In our device we use a NFC Tag. We use a NXP chip compliant with Tag class 2. On the tag itself we have an NDEF Secition which is accesible without password and an section for sensor configuration – like thresholds, intervals and other sensor related configuration. The configuration section is binary – in our own format and outside the NDEF frame. Are we compliant with License Agreement and can use the N-Mark on this product?2019-10-28T14:07:39+00:00

Thank you for your inquiry. You can use the N-Mark as long as you sign and agree to the License Agreement: https://nfc-forum.org/n-mark-license-agreement/

On an NFC-enabled device, such as a mobile phone, or consumer electronics, the N-Mark is used as a touchpoint to identify the position on the device where the user can align it with an NFC tag or with another NFC device to enable an NFC interaction.

To confirm if your product is in compliance, we would recommend getting your product certified. You can find more information about certification here: https://nfc-forum.org/certification-program-overview/

For further inquiries, you can contact us at [email protected]

I want to use the N-Mark as an indicator of NFC functionality in software. Do I still need to complete the N-Mark Trademark License Agreement?2019-08-14T15:16:15+00:00

Yes, the N-Mark should be displayed in system-level and application software of NFC-enabled devices.  Uses of the N-Mark in software include:

* In the Graphical User Interface (GUI) to indicate if NFC technology is on or off.

* As an NFC touchpoint, in a GUI if the screen can act as an antenna.

* In system settings dialogues and other device-specific low-level software related to the NFC functionality of an NFC-enabled device.

* In pre-installed or user-installed application software programs that support NFC technology.

The N-Mark may only be displayed in the GUI of an NFC-enabled device where NFC technology is supported.  To indicate that a device is NFC-enabled, the N-Mark should be placed in a menu next to the switch or button to turn NFC technology on and off.

Learn more by reading the NFC Forum N-Mark Usage Guidelines, page 19 titled, “Suggestions for use in Software”.

My company has already signed the N-Mark License Agreement, but I lost the N-Mark files. How can I get another copy?2019-08-14T15:15:45+00:00

Yes, if you have signed the N-Mark License Agreement, you can obtain another copy of the N-Mark files. Send an email to [email protected] to obtain another copy of the N-Mark asset files.

I want to use the N-Mark in educational material or a presentation. Do I still need to complete the N-Mark Trademark License Agreement?2019-08-14T15:15:21+00:00

Yes, in order to utilize the NFC Forum N-Mark you must read, review and sign the N-Mark License Agreement.  The N-Mark Usage Guidelines explain how to properly use the N-Mark wherever it appears, including marketing materials, packaging, advertising, software, on NFC-enabled products, and NFC touchpoints.

My company needs verification from the NFC Forum to prove that we have completed signing the N-Mark License Agreement online. How can I get this verification?2019-08-14T15:15:00+00:00

Once you sign the N-Mark License Agreement you will receive a confirmation email that the NFC Forum has received your signed agreement. Once you receive the confirmation email, please review the NFC Forum N-Mark Usage Guidelines document and then proceed to download and utilize the N-Mark asset files accordingly.

If we want to put the N-Mark on our product, but the product may be produced and sold by subsidiaries, who needs to sign the Agreement? Do all subsidiaries selling products with the N-Mark have to complete the Agreement?2019-08-14T15:13:58+00:00

Each subsidiary or manufacturer that plans to utilize the NFC Forum N-Mark on their product or software must read, review and sign the N-Mark License Agreement.

My company completed the N-Mark Trademark License Agreement, but now we want to use the N-Mark in a different way. Do we need to sign an additional Agreement for the new use?2019-08-14T15:13:14+00:00

Yes, as the N-Mark License agreement includes questions such as the type of technology that will be used and where the N-Mark will appear. For each unique usage of the N-Mark you must sign a new License Agreement.

How will I know if I have successfully completed the N-Mark Trademark License Agreement?2019-08-14T15:12:37+00:00

Once you sign the N-Mark Trademark License agreement you will receive a confirmation email from the NFC Forum.  Upon receiving the confirmation email, please review the N-Mark Usage Guidelines document and then utilize the N-Mark asset files accordingly.

Do I need to include the “TM” with the N-Mark on my product?2019-08-14T15:12:11+00:00

The N-Mark symbol is a trademark.  By adhering to the N-Mark Usage Guidelines you will maintain the integrity of the N-Mark.  In jurisdictions where the N-Mark is registered, the N-Mark must always be accompanied by the registered trademark ® symbol. Elsewhere, it must appear with the trademark ™ symbol. If you employ the N-Mark in both registered and unregistered jurisdictions, use of the ™ symbol is permitted, unless otherwise advised by the NFC Forum.  When the N-Mark is displayed on a product or the packaging or label of a product, position the ® or ™ symbol to the upper right of the N-Mark in a size visible to the naked eye.  If the N-Mark is smaller than 5mm in height, or if the means of display makes it infeasible to render the ™ or ® symbol legibly, the ™ or ® may be omitted.

What is the N-Mark?2019-08-14T15:11:09+00:00

The N-Mark is the brand identity/logo for NFC technology. It is the most visible and identifiable symbol of NFC technology and should be treated with care. The N-Mark must always be reproduced exactly as specified in the NFC Forum N-Mark Usage Guidelines document. It should not be altered or recreated in any way.

Do I have to be a member of the NFC Forum to use the N-Mark?2019-08-14T15:09:51+00:00

You do not have to be a member of the NFC Forum to use the N-Mark. However, as an advocate of NFC technology we do encourage you to consider joining the NFC Forum. Click here to learn more about NFC Forum membership.

Why should I use the N-Mark?2019-08-14T15:09:04+00:00

The NFC Forum N-Mark is the most identifiable symbol of NFC technology, using it correctly and consistently will strengthen consumer awareness and add value to your brands and solutions

Does my product have to be NFC Forum Certified to use the N-Mark?2019-08-14T15:05:39+00:00

NFC Forum Certification of your product is not required to use the N-Mark. However, we do encourage certification in order to ensure product integrity, interoperability, quality and performance. Learn more about the NFC Forum Certification Program – click here.

Are ATLs that are not RTOs also being charged a testing service fee?2019-08-02T16:22:34+00:00
  • All ATLs, whether or not they are RTOs, use the NFC Forum test cases and validated test tools for commercial purposes, and will therefore be charged a testing service fee.
When will the new Testing Service fee become effective?2019-08-02T16:22:22+00:00
Why are testing services fees being introduced for ATLs when in practice it is ‘business as usual’ for ATLs?2019-08-02T16:22:04+00:00
  • Since the inception of the Certification Program, the ATLs have not been required to pay any lab fees for using the Forum’s test cases and validated test tools for commercial purposes. In line with other industry organizations, such as EMVCo and GlobalPlatform, the Forum will introduce a Testing Services fee payable by all NFC Forum ATLs.
What are the reporting requirements for ATLs?2019-08-02T16:21:49+00:00
What fees will be payable by an ATL?2019-08-02T16:21:35+00:00
  • The NFC Forum will introduce a new fee payable by all ATLs for using the Forum’s test cases and validated test tools for commercial purposes. ATLs will be charged 10% on income exceeding $100,000 per year resulting from the testing services being provided (debug, precertification, certification, etc.) by the ATL. Review section 1.5.3 of theAuthorized Test Lab Requirements for more information.
What are the requirements for an existing ATL to also be an RTO?2019-08-02T16:21:19+00:00
  • The requirements for becoming an RTO are available from the GCF website. Bear in mind that testing conducted of the NFC Forum test cases by an existing ATL – even if not an RTO – is recognized by GCF.
Can an ATL perform the testing required by GCF?2019-08-02T16:20:40+00:00
  • Yes, the testing required by GCF consists of existing NFC Forum test cases and ATLs already perform testing of these test cases.
What are the implications of the arrangement with GCF on the current ATLs?2019-08-02T16:20:19+00:00
  • The NFC Forum Certification Program continues without any change and with no adverse impact on existing ATLs.
Is an RTO permitted to execute other NFC Forum test cases that are not part of the GCF required suite?2019-08-02T16:19:03+00:00
  • An RTO that has signed the appropriate license agreement and complied with all of its requirements is permitted to execute other NFC Forum test cases that are not part of the GCF required suite. All revenue derived from this testing must be reported to the NFC Forum and applicable fees apply.
What is ILCT and what is its purpose?2019-08-02T16:18:47+00:00
  • ILCT is a mandatory cross-testing methodology using a pretested sample to ensure consistent results across labs using a test tool from a particular vendor. The purpose of the testing is to ensure consistency and repeatability of results, and more importantly, consistency in behavior across devices tested.
Does an RTO facility have to undergo a capability audit if recently audited by GCF?2019-08-02T16:18:28+00:00
  • A capability audit undertaken by an NFC Forum qualified auditor is a requirement and must be completed before authorization to commence testing will be granted.
What are the reporting requirements for RTOs?2019-08-02T16:18:13+00:00
Who manages the program?2019-08-02T16:17:54+00:00

The NFC Forum staff manages the certification program with help from the Forum’s membership. The same team will be managing RTOs that wish to execute the GFC/NFC Forum test cases.

Why do I have to use an NFC Forum validated test tool for executing the required test cases?2019-08-02T16:17:32+00:00

NFC Forum test tools have been developed to support the NFC Forum test cases and have been validated to correctly execute each individual test case. Various cross-testing exercises have been undertaken to ensure repeatability and consistency of test results.

What fees are applicable to RTOs conducting NFC Forum test cases?2019-08-02T16:17:08+00:00

RTOs wishing to execute the NFC Forum test cases need to pay an annual $2,500 license fee when signing the license agreement. On an ongoing basis, the RTO will be charged a testing service fee of 10% of its income from testing involving the NFC Forum test cases.

How does an RTO become authorized to conduct testing using NFC Forum test cases required by GCF?2019-08-02T16:16:45+00:00

Visit the https://nfc-forum.org/recognized-testing-organizations-rtos-compliance-testing-information/ on the NFC Forum website for all the requirements and process steps to be licensed and authorized to execute NFC Forum test cases required by GCF.

Can an RTO also be or become an ATL?2019-08-02T16:16:22+00:00
  • An RTO has the option of becoming an ATL if it complies with all the requirements defined in the NFC Forum Requirements for Test Labs which includes being an NFC Forum member in good standing.
What are the prerequisites for an RTO to be licensed to conduct testing of NFC Forum test cases as required by GCF?2019-08-02T16:15:53+00:00
  • In order to be licensed to conduct NFC Forum testing, an RTO must be a testing organization or lab in good standing with GCF, comply with all the NFC Forum requirements and sign a license agreement.
Can an RTO conduct the NFC Forum test cases required by GCF?2019-08-02T16:14:44+00:00
  • A GCF RTO that has been licensed or authorized by the NFC Forum may execute the NFC Forum required test cases.
What is the relationship between the NFC Forum and GCF?2019-08-02T16:14:04+00:00

The relationship between the NFC Forum and GCF is one of cooperation in support of compliance testing of NFC functionality for certification. In terms of the agreement entered into, GCF may use NFC Forum developed test cases in its certification program provided that the testing is executed by NFC Forum licensed or authorized test labs.

How do I work with GCF and NFC after certification?2019-08-02T16:13:23+00:00

NFC Forum-certified products are listed on the Approved Products list and test results from already certified products can be applied to new certification applications where appropriate.

Where can I get the specifications and test cases?2019-08-02T16:12:58+00:00

More information regarding the NFC Forum specifications can be obtained by visiting the NFC Forum website /our-work/compliance/. Free access to the Forum’s Test Cases is restricted to NFC Forum members only. For RTOs that wish to license the test cases, visit the “RTO landing page” section of the NFC Forum website. https://nfc-forum.org/recognized-testing-organizations-rtos-compliance-testing-information/

What is the process/procedure to test and certify with GCF and NFC Forum?2019-08-02T16:12:37+00:00

The NFC Forum certification program has not changed and more information regarding the current process can be obtained by visiting theNFC Forum Certification Page. More information regarding GCF certification can be viewed on the Global Certification Forum (GCF)

In what way is the new testing and certification program different from what we used to do?2019-08-02T16:12:15+00:00

There is no change to the NFC Forum Certification Program with certification testing performed by the NFC Forum Authorized Test Labs (ATLs) as before. Many ATLs are already GCF Recognized Testing Organizations (RTOs) and the GCF selected test cases are already in the testing they do today for NFC Forum certification.

Will test results of test cases performed by an ATL that is not a GCF RTO be recognized by GCF for certification?2019-08-02T16:11:56+00:00

Test results obtained from an ATL – regardless of whether it is a CGF RTO – will be recognized by GCF for certification. It is the responsibility of the device manufacturer to submit proof of successful completion of any NFC Forum test cases by an ATL when filing for GCF certification.

Can results from NFC Forum test cases under GSMA TS.27, that are used for GSMA TS.27, performed by an RTO be applied to an NFC Forum certification application?2019-08-02T16:11:40+00:00

Test results obtained from testing by an RTO that licensed the NFC Forum test cases and has NFC Forum authorization to conduct testing can be applied to an NFC Forum certification application. It is the responsibility of the device manufacturer to submit proof of successful completion of any NFC Forum test cases by an RTO when filing for an NFC Forum certification.

What is the difference between a GCF RTO and an NFC Forum ATL?2019-08-02T16:11:28+00:00

An RTO is a test organization or lab recognized by the GCF to execute certification testing. An ATL is a test lab that has complied with all the NFC Forum Authorized Test Lab requirements and duly authorized by the NFC Forum to conduct full NFC Forum certification testing.

What is a GCF RTO?2019-08-02T16:11:16+00:00

A GCF Recognized Test Organization is a testing organization recognized by GCF to execute certification testing. Note that RTOs must be licensed and authorized by the NFC Forum to execute the GCF selected NFC Forum test cases.

Where will testing for GCF of the NFC Forum test cases occur?2019-08-02T16:11:07+00:00

Testing of the GCF selected test cases can be executed by existing NFC Forum Authorized Test Labs (ATLs) or GCF Recognized Test Organizations (RTOs) licensed and duly authorized by the NFC Forum to conduct testing.

What is the benefit of the testing and certification under this program?2019-08-02T16:07:44+00:00

Developing to a common set of specifications and testing compliance by means of a common set of test cases provide increased assurance that certified devices will interoperate across participating industries. Moreover, greater efficiency is achieved in that common test cases need to be conducted only once and successful test results recognized for an NFC Forum or GCF certification.

Why is collaboration with GCF important to the NFC Forum and its members?2019-08-02T16:05:35+00:00

This marks a major step in the adoption of the NFC Forum specifications by the mobile device industry, and complements the NFC Forum Certification Program launched some years ago.

What happens when I implement a feature defined in a new version of the Device Requirements that is not in a Certification Release?2019-12-17T18:46:49+00:00

Note that nothing prevents a manufacturer from implementing a new feature even if it will not be tested during certification. Assuming backwards compatibility of the testing, the product can be certified to the currently available Certification Release.

Early adopters of new features are encouraged to support the certification program by making samples available for test tool validation and participating in Plugfest events.

Can a new product that includes a part or portion of a previously certified implementation inherit that certification, or must the full product be re-tested?2019-12-17T18:45:45+00:00

Yes, in some cases certification can be inherited. Requirements for including a certified implementation in a secondary product include:

Inheritance of test results from a previously certified implementation is allowed for Digital Protocol, Logical Link Control Protocol (LLCP), and Simple NDEF Exchange Protocol (SNEP) testing.

Inheritance of Analog test results from a previously certified implementation is NOT allowed.

If my certified product gets a name change or is re-branded by an OEM, does it need to be re-certified?2019-12-17T18:45:18+00:00

If the NFC Forum Certification Mark is to be used in relation to such a product, or the product is to be listed in the Certification Register, then the product must be certified in its own right. However, generally speaking, repeating the Certification Testing is not required in these cases: certification may be obtained by inheriting test results from the certification of the parent.

What if Test Releases change, will I need to re-test my implementation?2019-12-17T18:44:27+00:00

Products already certified and their derivatives are not affected by subsequent changes to Test Specifications or publication of new Test Releases, and re-testing is not required when a new version of a Test Specification is issued.

Will my product remain certified after a Certification Release sunsets?2019-08-02T13:50:11+00:00

Yes, as long as the product does not change. The NFC Forum certifies products for life.

If we revise or update our product, do we have to re-certify it?2019-12-17T18:41:46+00:00

The NFC Forum grants certification for the life of a product. A manufacturer should carefully assess any change to a certified implementation to evaluate the impact of the change upon NFC functionality. Any change to a certified product that has a risk of changing its conformance to NFC Forum specifications, or of changing the results of any tests, will require retesting.

If changes affect a product’s RF functionality, such as an updated antenna, re-certification is automatically required. Note that if a product requires re-testing, you may accomplish it using the same or a subsequent version of the Test Specification originally used. You may also reuse partial test results where you haven’t made changes to the original product.

What are Test Groups?2019-12-17T18:39:40+00:00

A Test Group is a set of test cases grouped together by the NFC Forum to be the smallest unit available to deal with inheritance of test results. These are categorized and organized based on functionality of end products. Test Groups are specified in the Test Case Categories List (TCCL).

What is a Test Release?2019-12-17T18:39:11+00:00

A Test Release is a package of updates to the Test Specifications that is issued periodically.

What is a Certification Release?2019-12-17T18:38:46+00:00

When the NFC Forum publishes new versions of its Technical Specifications, they are collected into a Technical Specification Release that represents a stable set of features across all specifications of that release.

The certification requirements for the Technical Specifications is defined in the NFC Forum Device Requirements document that defines which Technical Specifications apply, and the detailed requirements that a conformant product must meet in order to be certified.

Certification Releases are issued at intervals, and a grace period applies before all products must be certified to a new release. (To receive notifications about new Certification Releases and other information about the Certification Program, interested parties are invited to join the Certification mailing list from the link on our website).
For example, when new Certification Release Y is introduced, Certification Release X, its predecessor, is usually given an 18-month grace period before it expires and Certification Release Y is required. During this 18-month period, manufacturers can apply for Certification under either Certification Release X or Y, but when the 18 months ends, certification may no longer be done using Certification X. The timeline is represented graphically in the figure below.

Are there NFC Forum-authorized Test Labs? Can my company become one?2019-12-17T18:37:59+00:00

Yes, there are authorized test laboratories in different regions of the world. They are listed at http://nfc-forum.org/our-work/compliance/certification-program/labs-test-tools/authorized-test-labs/. Instructions for applying to be an authorized test laboratory are also posted.

What is the process for certifying our products?2019-12-17T18:37:29+00:00

There are six steps to the certification process: Join, Prepare, Report, Apply, and Promote. For process details visit the Certification Program Overview page.

What is the correlation between Device Requirement document releases and Certification and Test Releases?2019-12-17T18:36:45+00:00

A new version of the Devices Requirements can trigger product hardware and software changes. Testing for the new feature(s) will be announced and activated via a Certification Release.

Testing documents via Test Releases are published periodically (~1 / year) and may include new tests, updates to existing tests, or clarifications.

New feature testing will be added to the Certification Program via a new Certification Release only when:

  • Test specs for the new feature(s) are ready
  • Test tools are validated with the new feature

Authorized test labs are able to test the new feature

What is included in the Certification Program?2019-12-17T18:35:58+00:00

Manufacturers can submit their products for certification testing according to Device Class; Universal Device, Reader/Writer Device or Tag Device.

Should we certify our tags?2019-12-17T18:35:21+00:00

Yes, tag manufacturers may certify the combination of the antennae and IC. NFC Forum Tag Certification confirms that tags conform with NFC Forum specifications, which are the most broadly supported tags in the industry and attain test evidence that is preferred and/or required by other NFC Forum partner organizations. For information on why you should certify your tags, visit the Tag Certification Overview page.

What is the N-Mark? How do I use it?2019-12-17T18:34:50+00:00

The N-Mark is the most visible and identifiable symbol of NFC technology and should be treated with care so as not to disrupt this instant recognition. In a crowded marketplace, a strong brand identity will set NFC technology apart. It will distinguish this proven platform and earn the trust and confidence of manufacturers, retailers, members, and consumers alike.

For guidance on how to use the N-Mark, please consult the N-Mark Usage Guidelines. The N-Mark brand logo and supporting assets files are available for download upon signing the N-Mark Trademark License Agreement. The N-Mark may be used regardless of certification.

The Certification Mark should not be used on a device2019-12-17T18:34:04+00:00

Instead, you may place the NFC Forum’s N-Mark on a device to indicate the availability of NFC services at the touchpoint where users can activate them. Read the NFC Forum N-Mark Usage Guidelines to learn more.

What is the Certification Mark? How do I use it?2019-12-17T18:33:36+00:00

The NFC Forum Certification Mark is an industry-facing logo.

The Certification Mark can be displayed on collateral, sales materials, websites, product packaging, and documentation to signify a product meets global standards and establish credibility across the NFC ecosystem that products will perform consistently. The Certification Mark use is granted to NFC Forum Members once an NFC-enabled device implementation has successfully completed the NFC Forum Certification process, accepted the NFC Forum Certification Mark License Agreement, and paid the $1,000 Certification Mark License fee. This is a one-time fee per registered organization regardless of the number of products your company will certify.

How will customers know that our products are certified?2019-12-17T18:32:51+00:00

All certified products are publicly listed in a registry maintained by the NFC Forum, to which you should direct your customers and suppliers. Additionally, after your product is certified, you should use the NFC Forum Certification Mark on your product packaging, websites, marketing materials, manuals, etc. to add credibility to your product and advance its promotion.

Is Certification required if we say that our products employ NFC?2019-12-17T18:32:15+00:00

Certification is optional, but you cannot claim that a product is NFC-Forum-compliant if you do not complete certification for that product. Even if other products from your company have been certified, the NFC Forum strongly recommends that every NFC-enabled product goes through certification testing, because the Certification Program certifies products, not companies.

What are the benefits of certifying our NFC products?2019-12-17T18:30:15+00:00

Benefits to your company of product certification include:

  • Attracting customers who prefer to purchase a certified product over a non-certified product
  • Differentiating your products from uncertified products, thus offering a potential commercial advantage
  • Providing test evidence that is preferred and/or required by other NFC Forum partner organizations
  • Listing your product on the certified product register on the public NFC Forum website
  • Increasing the likelihood that your product will interoperate with other NFC-Forum Certified Devices.
  • Increasing the possibility that other NFC ecosystem players may develop applications for your device.
  • The ability to proudly display the NFC Forum Certification Mark on your website, sales material, and packaging.

NFC Forum Certification provides differentiation for NFC Forum members by shortening the product adoption process, lowering adoption costs, and making product implementations easier for partners to integrate.

How long does it take for the for NFC Forum to review a certification application?2019-12-17T18:29:32+00:00

With the certification application you need to submit the relevant documents (usually provided by the Authorized Test Lab) that prove that your device has passed the certification tests. If all submitted documents have been verified to be complete and correct, you will receive your product’s approved certification certificate via email within five (5) business days. If the submitted documentation is incorrect or incomplete the NFC Forum Certification Administrator will contact you as soon as possible after the submission of the application.

What does Certification cost?2019-12-17T18:29:00+00:00

A schedule of the fees involved in Certification is located at the Certification Fees page. Note that the costs of the test in the NFC Forum Authorized Test Lab are not included in this schedule.

What is the NFC Forum Certification Mark?2019-12-17T18:28:28+00:00

The NFC Forum Certification Mark is an industry-facing logo that signifies global credibility and is an indicator that an implementation has met the standards of the NFC Forum Compliance Program. The NFC Forum Certification Mark may be used on product packaging, websites, sales materials, and documentation, to indicate that a product has met the standards of the NFC Forum Compliance Program. Use of the Certification Mark is granted to NFC Forum members once the NFC Forum Certification process is completed. See the steps to Certification to learn more. Read the Certification Mark Guidelines which describe how to use the Certification Mark correctly.

Can anyone certify products?2019-12-17T18:27:50+00:00

The NFC Forum Certification Program is open to NFC Forum members only. The NFC Forum has an entry-level Implementer membership targeted to companies that plan to implement the standards and certify products.

Will all certified NFC-enabled devices work together?2019-12-17T18:27:32+00:00

A certified device must comply with NFC Forum specifications, and this ensures a certain level of device interoperability, but certification does not guarantee that all certified devices will always interoperate successfully. Certification provides the foundation for device interoperability.

What does Certification mean?2019-12-17T18:26:59+00:00

A certified device has been tested by an NFC Forum Authorized Test Lab according to detailed protocols and has been found to comply with NFC Forum specifications, which ensures a level of interoperability among devices. Certification enables manufacturers to establish, by means of a top-notch testing process, that their products conform to the NFC Forum’s published specifications.

How does the Certification Program fit within the Compliance Program?2019-12-17T18:26:24+00:00

Certification is one part of the NFC Forum Compliance Program, which was established to encourage and facilitate development and increase market availability of products that exemplify high-level compliance with NFC Forum specifications, thereby assuring interoperability between manufacturers.

Together, the components of the Compliance Program form the foundation for a gold standard in NFC implementations and support the goal of achieving interoperability. By participating in the NFC Forum Compliance Program, NFC Forum members establish confidence and credibility in the technology for everyone in the value chain, enabling a flourishing NFC ecosystem.

The Certification Program is complemented by optional interoperability testing events called Plugfests, which are held once or twice a year in different regions across the globe. Plugfests are open to non-members of the NFC Forum, as well as to members. However, your organization must be a member of the NFC Forum to certify your product/solution.

The NFC Forum Plugfest events are designed to support early adoption of the NFC Forum specifications by providing a safe, real-world environment where NFC Forum Devices and test tool interoperability can be verified across manufacturers’ products.

The NFC Forum recommends that you attend Plugfests to test the interoperability of your products with other NFC-enabled devices, whether or not the device has completed the certification process.  Although optional, Plugfests are part of a comprehensive integrated effort that reduces risk and the investment required in adopting new technology.

What is the Certification Program and what is its purpose?2019-12-17T18:25:25+00:00

The NFC Forum Certification Program provides manufacturers with a means of establishing that their products conform to the NFC Forum Technical Specifications. Certification is granted through a top-notch testing process for implementations that meet NFC Forum Device* Requirements. By determining conformance, the Certification Program ensures consistency in the behavior of compliant devices, thereby setting the foundation for interoperability.

The Certification Program provides differentiation for NFC Forum members by shortening the product adoption process, lowering adoption costs, and making product implementations easier for partners to integrate.

*Note: There are different types of devices such as universal, reader/writer and tags.

Where is the NFC touchpoint on my smartphone?2019-08-01T19:50:23+00:00

The location of a phone’s NFC touchpoint or “sweet spot” varies by manufacturer, although it is typically found on the back or top edge of the phone. To determine where the NFC touchpoint is positioned on your specific phone, please consult your owner’s manual.

What does NFC stand for?2020-03-02T20:18:07+00:00

NFC stands for Near Field Communication. NFC is only activated when your phone or other smart device is right next to a terminal or an NFC tag so you have complete control over what you choose to connect to.

How is NFC different from Bluetooth?2019-08-01T19:49:16+00:00

Bluetooth technology eliminates the use of cables to connect to your devices to one another. NFC technology is designed to work with Bluetooth. A simple tap will pair NFC and NFC-enabled Bluetooth devices for ongoing connectivity.

What is an NFC tag?2019-08-01T19:48:30+00:00

An NFC tag is an unpowered microchip that is embedded in a product label, retail display, a smart poster, or most places where you see this symbol (N-Mark). With just a tap from your smartphone or other NFC-enabled device, NFC tags deliver enhanced product information, activate special offers and power interactive experiences at museums or sports events.

What does the N-Mark symbol mean?2019-08-01T19:47:48+00:00

Whenever you see the N-Mark symbol, it means, “tap here” to learn more or to activate an NFC transaction or experience. You’ll find this symbol on NFC-enabled devices, in apps that support NFC, and on touchpoints around town and around the world.

How do I access NFC?2019-08-01T19:46:17+00:00

During setup, go to your setting menu, look for NFC (sometimes listed under “more”), turn it on, and you’re ready to go. There are no apps to download or codes to enter. And NFC does not drain your battery.

When a phone or device is NFC enabled what does that really mean?2019-08-01T19:44:51+00:00

NFC (Near Field Communication) technology makes your smart device smarter. It allows you to connect to a world of convenience, information, and enhanced experiences with just one tap.

What is Host Card Emulation?2019-08-01T19:31:05+00:00

Host Card Emulation (HCE) is a technology that allows the emulation of a contactless card by NFC applications hosted by the main processor. Some HCE applications have low security demands and do not need the support of a secure element. Alternatively, the HCE application may access security service functions provided by secure elements connected to the main processor or offered by security services on TEEs.

What is a Secure Element?2019-08-01T19:09:37+00:00

A Secure Element (SE) is a protected execution environment for NFC applications. A good analogy is the contactless payment chip card. The chip runs the EMV payment application for secure payment transactions. The key benefit is the higher security level provided by a secure element compared to a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) or Host Card Emulation (HCE). The SE can take many forms:

  • A UICC that runs the SIM and USIM applications on the smart phone
  • An embedded smart card chip
  • A smart micro SD card
What means are available to strengthen the security of NFC devices and applications?2019-08-01T19:08:14+00:00

Security measures for NFC devices and applications include:

  • Device NFC on/off switch: to prevent unrecognized use of NFC functionality
  • When implemented by the device manufacturer, NFC functionality is automatically turned off when the phone is asleep/off
  • Data encryption: to prevent unauthorized access to confidential data during NFC transmission
  • Strong authentication methods (strong passwords, finger biometrics, etc.) to prevent use by unauthorized users
  • NFC tag locking to prevent overwriting
  • Use of digital signatures on NFC tags to ensure the authenticity and integrity of tag data
  • Usage of dynamic identifiers to avoid the tracking of NFC device users when the NFC application allows anonymous transactions
What areas of NFC technology can benefit from security protections?2019-08-01T19:07:40+00:00

Security provisions are available for NFC solutions across a number of areas, including:

  • Protection of:
    • The integrity of NFC transactions
    • The confidentiality of transactions
    • The privacy of NFC device users
  • Authentication of:
    • The participating applications and websites
    • The NFC user identity
What security features do the other standards bodies provide?2019-08-01T19:06:37+00:00

EMVCo
EMVCo is the industry standard payment protocol for smart cards. It uses cryptographic algorithms to provide authentication of the card to the processing terminal and the card issuer’s host system.

ETSI
ETSI’s standardization activities cover a broad spectrum of security issues. ETSI Smart Card Platform (SCP) defined the UICC as a basic platform for smart cards able to host different type of secure applications, including secure NFC applications. The SWP/HCI connection of the UICC allows a direct connection with the NFC Controller supporting even time-critical secure NFC applications.

Global Platform
GlobalPlatform defines an application management system for secure applications on secure elements. For example, this system allows applications stored on the secure element to be installed/deinstalled and enabled/disabled. The specifications can be found at https://www.globalplatform.org/specificationscard.asp. For NFC applications, this system is extended by Card Technology Contactless Service Card Specification Amendment C. The scope of this set of specifications is described in The GlobalPlatform Proposition for NFC Mobile: Secure Element Management & Messaging – April 2009  white paper.

JavaCard Forum
The JavaCard Specification defines an environment for secure NFC applications hosted on UICCs or other secure elements. In addition to the access it provides to contactless communication via SWP/HCI connected to an NFC Controller, the JavaCard API offers optional cryptographic libraries for symmetric and asymmetric algorithms allowing NFC applications to implement their security functions.

What security-related features are provided in NFC Forum specifications?2019-08-01T19:05:38+00:00

NFC Forum specifications include several security-related features:

The Signature Record Type Definition (RTD) 2.0 technical specification enables the digital signing of NDEF messages stored on NFC tags. In Peer-to-Peer mode this specification allows the signing of transmitted messages between two NFC devices. This enables the receiving device to verify the integrity (and optionally, the author) of the message to bear digital signatures. By adding a signature to NFC tags, developers can build a tag authenticity checking process into their applications. Signatures can be used to protect any NDEF message in the NFC ecosystem and are not limited to tags.

In Peer-to-Peer mode, the Logical Link Control Protocol (LLCP) 1.3 technical specification uses industry-standard advanced cryptography for encryption and message authentication, to ensure the confidentiality of messages exchanged between peer devices. It includes a secure channel that is negotiated uniquely for each new peer-to-peer session to prevent passive eavesdropping without the need for the NFC applications to manage the necessary keys for the secure channel.

The NCI 2.0 Technical Specification offers a flexible concept to integrate different types of secure elements into a NFC device. In principle, a secure element can be either directly connected to the NFC Controller allowing secure and prompt-performing NFC applications, or it can be connected to the main processor of the device (Device Host) providing security services to NFC applications (e.g., Host Card Emulation applications).

NCI even supports secure elements directly connected to both the NFC Controller and the main processor to address the needs of different types of NFC applications (this solution is used, for example, by NFC SIM cards).

NCI supports different interfaces on the secure element. In addition to the SWP/HCI connection used by NFC SIM cards and many other secure elements, secure elements with other connections are supported (e.g., the ISO/IEC 7816 APDU Smartcard interface).

The powerful routing mechanism of NCI 2.0 allows it to forward received RF commands to the right entity hosting the NFC applications. This mechanism permits secure NFC applications hosted on different secure elements to coexist with HCE applications inside the same NFC device. This mechanism supports NFC applications installed on secure elements that announce their configurations and capabilities according to the GlobalPlatform Amendment C Specification.

What is the NFC Forum’s role in ensuring that NFC devices and transactions are as secure as possible?2019-08-01T19:04:54+00:00

As the global organization with a charter to advance the use of NFC technology, the NFC Forum plays a leading role in fostering the development and deployment of secure NFC solutions. The NFC Forum considers NFC security to be of importance and supports an active, dedicated Security Working Group to address security issues and opportunities.

The NFC Forum’s primary role is to develop interface specifications that enable the use of NFC in the broadest range of applications, which have varied security needs. Rather than predefine the security requirements of all applications that use the NFC interface, the NFC Forum works to ensure that tools and interface specifications are available that allow each application to operate with the appropriate level of security. By fostering alliances and collaboration with the aforementioned groups, the Forum can ensure the most secure solutions can be deployed.

Who is responsible for keeping NFC solutions secure and protecting users’ confidential information?2019-08-01T18:55:54+00:00

Everyone in the NFC value chain plays a role in ensuring the security of NFC interactions. This includes:

  • Standards bodies
  • Device manufacturers
  • Secure element manufacturers
  • NFC tag manufacturers
  • NFC application developers
  • Solutions developers
  • Mobile carrier
  • Certification test laboratories
Is NFC a secure technology?2019-08-01T18:54:50+00:00

NFC includes security features incorporated in NFC Forum specifications; supports security standards developed by industry standards bodies; and allows device manufacturers, solutions developers, service providers, and users to employ additional security measures they deem appropriate to each application.

NFC technology supports security standards developed by standards bodies and industry consortiums, including EMVCo, ETSI, GlobalPlatform, an GSMA.

Developers of NFC applications are incorporating these and other security measures, including passwords, strong authentication, and access control, that further protect devices, stored information, and transaction integrity and confidentiality

NFC has a very short transmission range. Because NFC Forum devices and NFC Forum tags work only within a short distance, they provide an initial degree of protection from attacks.