Multi-Purpose Tap Improving the User Experience
Jun 10, 2024

Multi-Purpose Tap Improving the User Experience

Digital solutions are becoming increasingly integral to everyday life, with technologies such as contactless payments and smart devices becoming ubiquitous. This trend is supported by the widespread adoption of smartphones, with over 4.5 billion users worldwide, a number projected to exceed 5 billion by 2028. Most of these devices are equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology as a standard feature.

The emerging NFC multi-purpose tap concept promises to revolutionize how transactions are conducted by enabling a single tap to complete payments, apply discounts, deliver receipts, and award loyalty points. This innovation underscores the vast potential and growing demand for interoperable, efficient, and environmentally friendly digital services across various industries.


Multi-Purpose Tap Improving the User Experience
Improving Contactless Experiences

Certain NFC devices such as smartphones can operate in both reader/writer mode and card emulation mode, referred to as dual-mode devices. This means that mobile developers can design custom applications that interact with other NFC devices supporting any mode, all with a single tap.

This updated capability will provide for frictionless transaction completion between devices, in a fully controlled, transparent and secure way that allows for a fully customized and relevant user experience.

Improving Contactless Experiences

NEW Multi-purpose tap is an emerging concept to further improve the contactless user experience. This means that several actions can be executed at the same time, and transactions that would typically require multiple stages can be completed quickly and easily with just one tap. The dual-mode support of NFC devices allows to perform the transactions aimed for multi-purpose tap with any NFC device.

Unlike many emerging technologies, the implementation of NFC enabled multi-purpose tap can be seamless. Users are already familiar and comfortable with the NFC functionality of their existing devices, with many already using it for payments, loyalty schemes, or for transit. Giving customers the ability to use their own device to combine and personalize multiple services, while removing the need for yet another physical card, interaction or activity is an attractive option, especially when this can be done without compromising on security.

As the number of connected devices grows, the potential of multi-purpose tap will continue to rise too. Data exchanged between smart devices using NFC technology facilitates connectivity with web-based services, central servers, or APIs. In doing so, NFC facilitates seamless integration of local data with data stored in the cloud or distributed databases.

Benefits of Multi-Purpose Tap

With hundreds of millions of NFC-enabled devices in the marketplace today, NFC technology is proven as one of the most versatile and secure technologies available. Every day, millions and millions of people use NFC technology to connect to things and the world around them.

  • Multi-purpose tap has the power to enhance the connectivity for each user with an NFC enabled device. For example: Simultaneous point-to-point receipt delivery,

  • Automatic identity verification, for example, not allowing a payment to be made for alcohol to minors,

  • Rewards from loyalty schemes given within the same transaction as the payment being made

  • Tap and go total-journey ticketing that automatically applies the correct taxes and concessions.

While multi-purpose tap is undoubtedly an exciting prospect that looks set to transform how our devices interact with each other, it is important to recognize that it is still in the ideation stage.

NFC Forum is carefully evaluating the requirements of each market that multi-purpose tap stands to benefit to ensure that its unique value is accentuated as needed for each individual use case.

This means that contributions by the community are actively encouraged as we seek to create a solution influenced by those that stand to use and benefit most from it.

Concept in Action


Before payment, there are a number of interesting operations a system could perform after a tap to make the customer journey easier and more reliable.

  • Permissions to purchase (demographics)

  • Discounts & Loyalty

  • Mobility / Public Transport Ticketing


In this example, payment would occur as it does today; effortlessly, quickly , and securely from a device or card.

  • Payment for goods, services, tickets occurs as today.


Once a payment is accepted, the system could then provide data back to the consumer in the form of a more itemized receipt or even unlock a door for entry.

  • Receipts

  • Data processing

  • Physical Unlock/Access

Simplifying Loyalty Cards & Receipts

85% of consumers are more likely to shop with retailers that offer loyalty programs and over two-thirds of millennials look for reward programs when staying loyal to a brand

Simplifying Loyalty Cards & Receipts

Payment and loyalty are natural allies. 85% of global consumers are more likely to shop with retailers that offer loyalty programs, and over two-thirds of millennials look for reward programs when staying loyal to a brand. This trend delivers benefits to merchants too. Customer data is the new ‘gold’ as industry leaders look to map and understand spending habits. Connected and dynamic loyalty programs enable merchants to monitor trends, allowing them to be agile and make informed decisions that help them meet the needs and wants of their customer base. In turn, this can help drive high-value behaviours and profitable spend.

NFC technology could innovatively bind loyalty and payments. When a consumer pays for their goods or services using their NFC enabled device, the tap would also trigger the loyalty program. By linking the two transactions this could automatically apply relevant customer discounts and add loyalty points to their account intuitively. It could also be used to trigger specific, targeted marketing communications, verify a person’s age for restricted purchases, or simply to transfer the receipt to the customer direct to their smartphone.

NFC Forum has a long history of working across multiple industries to bring new and innovative solutions to market. Thanks to these relationships, multi-purpose tap is being designed to meet each verticals’ unique needs. For example, electric vehicle owners will be able to initiate the vehicle charging process and simultaneously pay for it by tapping their smartphone with the required charging station app against the terminal.

Not only does combining these actions into one single tap provide a quicker checkout flow, enhance consumer convenience and a personalised experience, but it can also support climate and sustainability targets as transactions can be made completely paperless, and, by eliminating the need for separate loyalty cards, it can help dematerialize the loyalty ecosystem.

Seamless Mobility for All

Traditionally, those using public transport have been issued a physical paper ticket or plastic travel pass as proof of their right to ride. While this physical ticket can be effective, it is also very inefficient. Not only are passengers required to queue at a booth or machine to obtain their ticket each time they want to use a transit service, but physical tickets also create a vast amount of waste, especially as most of them are only valid for a single journey.

Furthermore, new integrated ticketing options and initiatives such as Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) seamlessly connect different services and technologies thanks to online network connectivity. Digitizing the fare collection process makes managing these services far easier and more secure. Digital tickets are less prone to fraud or counterfeiting while also allowing operators to be far more proactive with the evolution of account-based ticketing offers, giving users ticketing options that meet their needs.

NFC technology provides a way by which transit operators can offer the modern approaches to ticketing that passengers demand while also advancing their sustainability objectives. The ergonomic tap-and-go user experience allows users to securely validate their ticket in a matter of seconds. This speeds up the validation process at barriers, helping travellers get to where they need to be without undue delay and maximizing passenger throughput.

The multi-purpose tap functionality of NFC could further enhance NFC ticketing by unlocking a host of new purchase options for both open and closed loop systems. The bidirectional exchange of information that multi-purpose tap facilitates mean that the correct taxes and concessions can immediately be applied to give the traveller the best and most relevant fare. It also gives operators a way to issue those using tap-and-go solutions with an e-ticket which can quickly and easily be checked by a ticket inspector, all from the user’s own device.

Multi-Purpose Tap and Future Innovations

NFC Contactless was rated the Most Convenient, Most Secure, Fastest, and Easiest Way to Pay. Multi-Purpose Tap and other NFC Forum innovations will build on this strong reputation.

Multi-Purpose Tap and Future Innovations

Multi-purpose tap has the potential to deliver the ultimate consumer convenience. And as NFC technology continues to evolve, the improved usability and personalized seamless experience that multi-purpose tap can offer will expand to even more ecosystems.

Modernized Device-to-Device Communication empowers NFC-enabled smartphones to have Point-of-Sale functionality, allowing businesses or individuals to receive payments anywhere. Combining this with multi-purpose tap would open up additional use cases for digital payments. For example, fare collectors on public transport would be able to accept payment, issue and validate tickets on the go, all with one tap of a passenger’s device on the inspector’s device.

Multi-purpose tap can also help drive initiatives such as the Digital Product Passport. Enabling NFC to share data on the composition of a product when a user taps their device to pay means that sustainability data can be transferred straight to the user. This means that the required information on ways a product can be recycled is always readily available, helping to meet evolving consumer demands and regulatory requirements, as well as contributing to a healthy circulatory economy.

The Role of the NFC Forum

Due to the universal adoption of NFC Forum Standards on smartphones and wearables, the NFC Forum is well positioned to define global standards for multi-purpose tap operations.

The Role of the NFC Forum

NFC Forum is an active technical community of more than 600 companies. It works collaboratively to bring all NFC stakeholders together – from silicon vendors and OEMs to application developers and implementers – to create an innovative NFC ecosystem which creates solutions that are more accessible, efficient, and beneficial for everyone.

The body is driven by its board which includes Apple, Google, Huawei, Identiv, Infineon, NXP, Qualcomm, Sony, and STMicroelectronics.

NFC Forum has proven success in designing, evolving and regulating global technical specifications. It uses its vast community to access the required expertise, while working with relevant industry partners to align its technology with other standards and solutions. Its legal framework ensures standards are accessible to all from its website.

NFC Forum also has the skills and operational framework to continually evolve its specifications, to support and identify supplementary data on devices and explore new use cases.