NFC vs Bluetooth – Wireless Data Transfer & Communication

Manish Sharma, January 18, 2021

NFC vs Bluetooth: A short comparison between both Data communication technologies NFC and Bluetooth are two the same best technology for wireless data transfer and communication. NFC and Bluetooth both share several features between two devices over short ranges or distances. They provide ingenious solutions between those devices to transfer data and have the same kind of functionalities. But in terms of technology, both are different technologies that work in different ways and are clearly defined without worrying about security. Let us see interesting details about NFC versus Bluetooth to know the real difference and the real player! that serve different needs.

NFC And Bluetooth

There are two different types of Data communication and networking Technologies that pair quickly without the physical pairing process. That is NFC and Bluetooth.

What about NFC or Near Field Communication?

NFC stands for Near Field Communication and is a short-range wireless connectivity technology that works over very short distances. The two NFC devices can communicate only when they are very close to each other at a distance of about 3 to 4 cm or less. Connecting the NFC Device is considered quite easy as neither you need to enter a password nor search any device. NFC is the most growing technology in which unreliable data can be sent or received from your device to another device. This technology is about ten times faster than Bluetooth and it transfers data at a speed of about 424 kbps.

How Does NFC Work?

NFC is a wireless touch technology that specifically uses Radio Frequency to communicate a wireless device from another device. Whatever wireless equipment is there, it has a Radio Transmitter and a Radio Receiver that sends and receives data from one place to another through Radio Signal.

This technology is best for money transfer and payments between two NFC-powered device, gathering and sending data.

NFC standard and will be considered either passive NFC System or active NFC System.

In an active NFC system, two way communication means that any device is able to both send and receive data through NFC to the data. These are what you get in a smartphone.

In contrast, data can only be transferred in Passive NFC. An example of a Passive NFC is the NFC Tag and other small transmitters. Lots of NFC payments apps in market using nfc technology stack.

What about Bluetooth?

Bluetooth was the first-ever creation of wireless data transfer, developed in 1989 by Nils Rydbeck CTO at Erricson Mobile.

Bluetooth is a short-range, wireless data protocol through which two or more electronic devices are interconnected and data is exchanged. Which is designed to send and receive data over a secure 2.4GHz network.

Through this technology, these devices can contact each other from any angle up to 10 or 100 meters apart, but for this, Bluetooth is required in these devices.

Bluetooth technology uses radio waves to connect these devices. Through this technique, more than 7 devices can be connected at one time.

This wireless technology, now on version 5.2, is in almost all electronic devices like computers, laptops, smartphones, speakers, gaming equipment, and wireless headphones.

Difference Between NFC vs Bluetooth

A short difference between NFC and Bluetooth, both are wireless Data communication technologies, that are very different from each other and have different purposes.

There are several important technical differences between the two. NFC requires much less power consumption than bluetooth. However, Bluetooth has been more widely available for many years.

The technology used in Bluetooth is RFID and in NFC is Radio waves.

NFC is great for transferring wireless payments and access cards. Bluetooth allows for a more extended range of devices such as smartphones, speakers, and headphones commonly use it.

Device has to pair in using Bluetooth but not in Nfc.

INFC is more intuitive than Bluetooth, The comm. frequency in NFC is about 13.5 MHz and for Bluetooth, it’s 2.4 GHz.

Bluetooth and NFC. both are short-distance technologies, but even NFC requires to be very close to each other compare to Bluetooth. NFC has a maximum range under only 4 cm and Bluetooth’s maximum range is 10 meters.

NFC can also work with Passive Device while Bluetooth does not.

NFC technology is generally used for money transfers between two devices, on the other hand, Bluetooth doesn’t do money transfers.

Talking about the speed of data transfer, NFC has over Bluetooth technology, NFC is 10 times faster than Bluetooth is.

Here are some key differences between NFC and Bluetooth:

  1. Range: NFC has a very short range, typically less than 4 centimeters, while Bluetooth has a range of up to 100 meters.
  2. Power consumption: NFC requires very little power to operate, while Bluetooth consumes more power.
  3. Speed: NFC is generally faster than Bluetooth when it comes to pairing and data transfer, but Bluetooth has a higher data transfer rate.
  4. Use cases: NFC is commonly used for contactless payments, ticketing, and access control systems, while Bluetooth is often used for wireless audio streaming, file transfer, and device pairing.
  5. Compatibility: Most modern smartphones and other devices have both NFC and Bluetooth capabilities, but not all devices support both.

NFC vs Bluetooth comparison (Tabular)

NFC Bluetooth
1 History 2004, Philips, Sony and Nokia 1994, created by Ericsson
2 Technology Radio waves; frequency-hopping spread spectrum @RFID combined with smartcard infrastructure
3 Standards @ISO, ECMA, ETSI IEEE Global Standard
4 Communication frequency 13.56 MHz 2.04 GHz
5 MaximumData transfer rate 424 kbits/s 1–3 Mbits/s
6 Power consumption Very Less Less but a bit high compared to NFC
7 How it works No pairing required for data transfer By pairing two devices within a short distance you can transfer data
8 Accessibility Tap screen to transfer data Search devices, select the one, and start data transfer
9 Simultaneous only 2 device at a time Up to 8 device at a time
10 Cost-effectiveness Expensive Inexpensive
10 Cost-effectiveness Expensive Inexpensive
11 Social networking ability Yes No
12 Payment transaction Yes with Security No
13 Security Intermediate; neither high nor low Low


Bluetooth and NFC are two innovative technologies that make connections between two devices over short ranges. Both wireless technologies have relatively low deployment costs and are simple to use.

But both are wireless transfer methods that are very different from each other and have different purposes.

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