FeliCa Technology

FeliCa, short for Felicity Card, is a a type of RFID contactless payment system popular in Japan. FeliCa is similar to NFC, and NFC devices are typically compatible with FeliCa systems. It is primarily used in payment cards for uses such as shopping or buying subway passes.

The FeliCa cards are passive devices and do not have a power supply of their own. The card reader interacting with them creates a signal that powers the FeliCa card and reads information from it. Encryption is used as a means of security for protecting the owner’s data. The card must be within 10 centimeters of the card reader to work, a slightly larger distance than allowed by near field communication technology.

Compliance with FeliCa is required by the NFC Forum for creating NFC devices and specifications. FeliCa uses Manchester encoding and operates at 13.56 MHz. As FeliCa continues to develop in Japan, NFC will likely continue to be compatible with its changing specifications. Compatibility is crucial to make NFC technology a global standard for contactless payment systems.

FeliCa is also available for mobile phones as well as the cards it is embedded on. It functions much like NFC, allowing the user to pay by swiping their smartphone over a card reader. It is commonly used to board subways. The technology also offers reader/writer devices to consumers. The device plugs into a computer and the user can make a purchase over the internet by swiping the FeliCa card or smartphone over the reader/writer device. It then sends the information to the merchant and completes the transaction.

In terms of near field communication technology, FeliCa plays a major role not only because the two technologies must be compatible with one another, but because FeliCa is an example of what a popularized contactless mobile payment system looks like. NFC has not reached the level of popularity or integration into current systems that FeliCa has in Japan. FeliCa paints a picture of NFC's goal and how to get there.