NFC Gets the Smackdown at 7-Eleven, Best Buy

NFC Gets the Smackdown at 7-Eleven, Best BuyJust when you think near field communications (NFC) technology is finally catching on, a story like this comes along.

According to Mobile Commerce Daily, 7-Eleven and Best Buy are effectively pulling the plug on NFC for the time being.

NFC has been weak to take off as a mobile payment technology despite the efforts of Google Wallet and Isis. Best Buy and 7-Eleven are realizing that it is not worth the cost for them, while at the same time hinting at the possibility of branded plays for their own mobile payment solutions.

“NFC was enabled at some 7-Eleven locations several years ago,” Margaret Chabris, director of corporate communications at 7-Eleven, is quoted in Thursday’s report. “As these older PIN pads have been replaced/upgraded, we have chosen not to invest to enable NFC. This decision was made based on several factors, but it is difficult to build the business case given low customer acceptance, transaction costs and other factors.”

“There is not much difference between tapping or swiping a card,” Chabris adds. “For various reasons NFC-based mobile payments options have yet to gain traction, and NFC provides no real benefit to the customer over other less costly options… At this time 7-Eleven does not accept mobile payments, but are looking to include this function in the future. We continue to be a strong supporter of MCX and its approach to mobile payments.”

A devastating blow to NFC? It’s a setback for sure, but nothing catastrophic, just another growing pain and a new challenge for those cultivating this technology to make it work better and more efficiently for consumers and retailers alike.