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Kyocera demonstrates NFC technology

With an NFC cell phone, your handset becomes your wallet. AT CTIA, Kyocera showed just how it can be done.

Kyocera's NFC demo Kent German/CNET Networks

There was more going on at Kyocera's CTIA booth then its new cell phones. The company also showed an interesting demo of NFC technology. In case you're not familiar, NFC allow users to store and access business cards in their cell phones, which they can then use to make purchases. In essence, your cell phone becomes your wallet, as it can be all you need to buy everything from a pack of gum to movie tickets.

In the demo I had a choice between a bottled water, a candle, or a pack of gum. I chose the gum since I had just guzzled my morning coffee. After the "cashier" rang up my purchase, he waved the NFC-enabled phone in front of a scanner to complete the transaction. If the demo handset was my phone, the purchase would show up on my normal credit card bill.

The technology is hardly new and though it's common in Asia, it's relatively rare in the United States. Just how it works is fairly simple. The NFC phone is embedded with a chip that stores your credit card information. When making a purchase, a scanner will read the chip and detect your preferred payment method.

The Kyocera E2000's fingerprint scanner Kent German/CNET Networks

Naturally, this does bring up security concerns. No one would relish the idea of some nefarious person taking your stolen phone on a shopping spree. Yet Kyocera showed how to avoid that. Its demo handset, a Kyocera E2000, had a fingerprint scanner for identifying the phone's owner. Without the necessary finger touch, the handset would not allow NFC purchases. What's more, a Kyocera spokeswoman said you can train the phone to use different credit cards depending on how you swipe the scanner. That sounds very cool indeed.