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Intel ultrabooks and phones tap to pay for online shopping with NFC

Intel and MasterCard want to use near-field communication (NFC) to pay for things by touching your phone on your Ultrabook laptop.

You've just bought those great shoes online, and now it's time to fork out the money. You could frootle through your bag for your credit card to type out your name and your details and the 16-digit number and the security code and blah-de-blah -- or you could just tap your phone against your laptop.

Sound tempting? That's the plan from Intel and MasterCard, who want to use near field communication (NFC) to pay for things by touching your phone on your Ultrabook laptop.

NFC lets two devices talk to each other wirelessly by simply holding them near each other. It's used in some tills to pay in shops but the technology hasn't taken off yet, although it is showing up in more and more phones. To work, you need an NFC chip in your phone or credit card, coupled with an account that holds your payment details, such as Google Wallet.

Paying with a tap of your phone or MasterCard PayPass card certainly sounds more convenient than the chore of typing out all your details. But is your money safe?

Intel reckons it's built extra security into the hardware. Selected new Intel laptops already pack Identity Protection Technology, which essentially gives the device its own authentication and creates two layers of protection in software and hardware.

Phones to boast NFC abilities include the Nokia 700, BlackBerry Torch 9860, Samsung Google Nexus S and forth-coming Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Would you be happy to pay for online purchases with a carefree waft of your phone in your computer's general direction -- or is online payment unsafe enough as it is?