Is NFC better than RFID


What is rfid

The abbreviation RFID means Radio-Frequency Identification (German: radio frequency identification). Similar to NFC, this is a international transmission standard for contactless data exchange via radio. The NFC technology was developed on the basis of RFID, so there are many similarities, but also some important differences.

How does RFID work?

So-called RFID transponders are required to transmit data via RFID. A distinction is made between active and passive transponders.

  • Passive transponders contain the data to be transferred. However, they do not have their own energy source and therefore cannot start an RFID connection on their own.
  • Active transponders however, contain an energy source that emits an electromagnetic field. This gives the passive transponder enough energy to transmit its data.

Basically, data can only ever be transferred from passive to active transponders via RFID and not between two passive or two active transponders. The construction of individual transponders also differs greatly. Not all models communicate using the same radio frequency, so the range of data transmission differs depending on the type.

RFID is used, for example, to secure goods in department stores. The security on the goods themselves is the passive transponder, while the barrier at the exit represents the active transponder (the reader). As soon as the safety device comes near the barrier, it transmits the request to play a loud beep.

How do RFID and NFC differ?

NFC is a specification of RFID technology and differs in a few points:

An NFC connection can only be made via very short distances can be set up (1-4 cm), while RFID has a significantly greater range. However, a limited distance is very useful for certain use cases such as payment systems. This ensures that a customer does not pay as soon as he is in the vicinity of a cash register. Payment is only made with NFC as soon as a customer brings his NFC-enabled card within a few centimeters of the reader.

Via NFC are as well Connections between two active NFC transmitters possible and not just between a passive and an active transmitter. For example, two NFC-enabled smartphones can exchange data via an NFC connection.

Finally, NFC transmitters always communicate via same radio frequency (13.56 MHz). As a result, NFC chips do not differ so greatly in terms of their properties and range.


  • An NFC connection is only established over very short distances.
  • NFC also enables the connection between two active NFC transmitters.
  • NFC communication always takes place over the same radio frequency (13.56 MHz).

additional Information

Created: 09.11.2016 / Updated: 28.03.20182016-11-092018-03-28

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