Difference between RFID and NFC
Both terminologies RFID and NFC are commonly used in wireless communication systems for replacing the barcodes; however, some people often get confused between these two abbreviations. For a glance, the similarities and differences between RFID and NFC is presented in the table below;
On the other side, if you want to understand the detailed comparison between these two acronyms, then you’re at the right place. Let’s start with definition;
RFID, an acronym for Radio Frequency Identification, exploits electromagnetic (EM) fields to identify the objects, asset,s or track the products. According to the distribution of the EM spectrum, RFID tags and readers use four frequency bands to perform contactless communication (see this article).
NFC, as known as Near Field Communication, is a subset of RFID as it exploits HF (High frequency) band of RFID spectrum to transmit the data over a short-range or distance. The operating frequency of NFC is 13.56 MHz along with the two international standards named ISO/IEC 14443 and ISO/IEC 18000-3.
RFID was initiated in the 1980s to remove the stress of the line of sight of barcode technology. After the deployment of this technology, it helps a lot in the tracking and tracing of inventories, specially designed for supply chain management stores. Undoubtedly, RFID technology offers high ranges, reliable and reasonable tracking solutions, but the intelligence of this technology relies on chips or IDs only.
On a brighter side, NFC is the future of smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop devices. NFC is the perfect evolution of RFID and Bluetooth because it is more than IDs and doesn’t require any manual session to transfer the data.
You might have used security scan cards in the educational institution, office, or tollbooth, all are following the NFC principle. In all these cases, the user holds cards close to the contactless reader, which scans their identity and allows them to enter in organizations.
This promising feature is based on peer-to-peer communication that puts NFC at a higher level in contrast to RFID technology. The presence of peer-to-peer communication allows the NFC devices to transfer information while moving across and tapping the screen of devices.
Technically speaking, RFID technology enables retailers to embed intelligence in their stores, shelves, counters and inventory boxes, whereas NFC helps retailers to build strong customer relationships after they leave the store as they create interactivity and user-friendly experience.
Who is More Secured?
Another difference between NFC and RFID can be analysed from their security strengths. RFID works on different bands and ranges, meaning that it is easy for hackers to steal card information for making duplicate copy of the original card.
But devices equipped with NFC technology, transfer data over 4 inches only. Although it looks like the limitation of NFC, yet it brings a high level of security in credit cards. Due to the small range of NFC cards, it is tricky for theft to steal the card compared to RFID credit cards. Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay are the leading companies that follow NFC cards.
Table 1: Difference between RFID and NFC
Radio Field Communication
Near Field Communication
LF, HF, UHF, Microwave bands
HF (13.56 MHz)
Varies (up to 100 meter)
High and more than RFID
Hard to deploy
Easy to setup
Easy to use
Highly easy to use
106 Kbit/s to 424 Kbit/s