Chief among the questions underlying developers’ diverse mobile payments strategies is the future of Near Field Communication. It’s a topic hotly debated throughout the industry, including at the National Retail Federation’s annual convention in New York.

Some prominent mobile wallets today rely on NFC as the primary method of making payments. These include the mobile carriers’ Isis venture and Google’s mobile wallet. Others, such as PayPal, consider NFC optional. The mega-retailers’ Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) venture, which has yet to release a product, promises a software-based alternative to NFC, storing card data in the cloud and using bar codes to conduct transactions.

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