FeliCa

FeliCa is a technology developed by Sony in which a microchip, embedded in a card or electronic device, combines processing, storage, and communications functions. The name derives from the word "felicity," suggesting convenience. The data on the chip is nonvolatile and can be overwritten indefinitely.

The FeliCa chip can be used in portable digital devices such as cell phone sets, handheld computers, wristwatches, and calculators. This makes it possible for the portable device to contain multiple forms of data including personal or business identification (ID) information, bank account numbers and balances, medical information, credit account data, transportation passes, and authorization codes. For example, a user can upload digital cash from a credit card to a cell phone set, pass a wristwatch near a scanning device at a department store checkout station, use a calculator as a virtual train ticket, or use a FeliCa card to log on to a computer at an Internet kiosk. The data is exchanged by mere proximity, without the need for physical contact.

DoCoMo, which offers a product line that uses the FeliCa chip, refers to such a device as a mobile wallet.

This was first published in May 2007

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