Add NFC payment capability to your iPhone 4

Do you want to add NFC to your iPhone 4? If you do, there is now actually a way to do it; but it is not for the feint hearted. NFC is an acronym for Near Field Communication. NFC enables you to pay for items by waving an enabled card or phone in front of an NFC enabled credit card terminal. There is no need to input a pin number or sign anything; it is all done with a wave of your phone. NFC has been widely rumored to feature in the iPhone 5 too.

NFC is currently available on certain Android handsets and now you can add it to your iPhone 4 too; if the jealousy is just too much to bear. According to Unplggd, all you need is one of the new credit cards from your bank that supports NFC; it should have a logo on the card that looks similar to a WiFi logo. Some banks call these cards Tap & Pay.

Once you have the card, all you need to do is remove your iPhone 4 back panel, position the credit card behind the battery then replace the back cover. You now have an iPhone 4 with NFC payment capabilities. The glass back apparently does not interfere with transactions and it can even work when you have a case on too.

Now I do not know why you would ever want to risk opening up your iPhone 4 to do this. NFC is hardly a killer feature yet. I don’t think I have ever seen it being used in the UK. Also the additional pressure this may put on the glass rear panel worries me greatly. This could stress the glass making it much more susceptible to cracking. Is anyone remotely interested in giving this a try?


UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

  • It's not popular but it is being used for transactions up to £15 in quite a few places now, mostly fast food restaurants like McDonalds. I only know because my mate has one of those bank cards and I watched him use it the other day in McDonalds. Airport coffee shops etc are also using contactless payment.
  • For less than $20, wouldn't it be easier to buy this?
  • Here are the reviews for that product:
    "Good design, good-looking case and fits the phone well. However notice that it says "fits two credit-card sized items". This does not mean it will hold two credit cards. Thin, totally flat items (like a drivers license) work better. Cards with raised print or numbers, like credit/debit cards, are too thick. I stuck two in the very rigid pocket and had to dig them out with tweezers. Not exactly what I was looking for as I need to carry an ID and at least one credit card." [Rated 2 out of 5 stars]
    "Wonderful concept for those carrying little credit cards & the iPhone 4. However, just putting the phone case in & out of my pocket caused the bumper on the front to flake & come apart. I was surprised how quickly it started to fray & come apart." [Rated 2 out of 5 stars]
    "This seems like a great idea, credit cards and iphone all in one convenient place. the problem is the execution of the idea is poor at best. the plastic the case is made of is VERY flimsy and could easily break. Also the shiny silver coating smears and flakes off easily. If this were made of a heavier weight material i would rate it 5 stars." [Rated 3 out of 5 stars]
  • chris, stop being a weenie, this little card is not going to crack your glass... For all the early iphone 4 owners with the philup screws, this will take 2 minutes to do. I could see some good uses for this if my gas station and super market accepted NFC.
    Thanks for the writeup
  • If it came with an app that would let you chose which card to use that would be cool
  • Ummmm, couldn't you just pop the card between the back of the phone and whatever case you use and skip the hardware mod?
  • Are there security implications to doing this?
  • Screw that... NFC is stupid....
  • Correction: It should be faint, not feint.
  • There is no risk in opening up your back cover. It's just the same as taking off the back cover of any cell phone to access your battery.
  • Being an iOS user doesn't mean your cc information is safe, and no I'm not. I was one.
  • How about a generalized app like the Starbucks has set up. Just have the screen of the iPhone be scanned. Make it easy to change what cards or accounts are charged should be doable.
  • All McDonalds stores in the UK can now accept NFC Payments. I've also seen some Subway stores accept them.
  • use the mircosd card that has the NFC feature.. no need to open anything other than the memory card slot
  • Why would one remove the back when one could just put card between the case and phone.