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NFC Tags

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NFC Tags

NFC stands for Near Field Communication - a form of short-range radio communication based on RFID standards in which a connection is established by bringing two devices into close proximity.

NFC has a number of of uses including contactless payment/transaction systems (Google Wallet, TFL's Oyster et al), employee/ID systems, data transfer between devices (Android Beam) and simplified connection of other forms of wireless communication (Bluetooth, wi-fi etc).

In addition to those uses, NFC allows for small, passive (ie un-powered) 'tags' to be read from and written to by active (powered) NFC devices - with the power the tag requires being drawn from the active device.
It is these tags that are covered in the section below.

NFC tag varieties

Models of NFC chip
Name Available memory URL length Text length NFC Class
Ultralight (UL) 48 bytes 41 characters 39 characters Type 2
Ultralight C (ULC) 148 bytes 132 characters 130 characters Type 2
NTAG203 144 bytes 132 characters 130 characters Type 2
MiFare 1K 1024 bytes 256 characters 709 characters Classic(1)
Fudan F08 1024 bytes
DESFire EV1 2k 2048 bytes Type 4
DESFire EV1 4k 4096 bytes Type 4
DESFire EV1 8k 8192 bytes Type 4
Sony FeliCa 4K 4096 bytes Type 3
Sony FeliCa Lite 224 bytes Type 3
Topaz 512 512 bytes 453 characters 447 characters Type 1
Topaz 96 bytes Type 1

Sources:

(1) MiFare Classic 1K tags do not work with Blackberry devices or Windows Phone devices. They are not guaranteed to work with all future Android devices either as they are not NFC Forum Type tags.
Types of NFC tag
Name Description
Business Cards Made from heavier stock or a plastic/paper hybrid and containing an NFC tag
Cards Tags embedded in rigid (plastic) cards
Epoxy Covered in an epoxy or resin (e.g. Sony's SmartTags).
Key Fob / Keyring Covered in plastic with a key ring.
Laundry Tag Waterproof and Weatherproof. These are designed to work in harsh conditions.
Metal Isolated / Anti-Metal Contain an isolation layer between the IC and the surface. Can be placed directly on metal.
Sticker Have adhesive on the rear and generally are covered in a plain white overlay or a logo.
Wet Inlay Have adhesive on the rear and have no coating or overlay (transparent, IC visible).
Wristband Generally Silicone with the tag embedded in the bracelet.

Where to purchase from

All sites ship worldwide unless Notes state otherwise

Site Based in Min. order quantity Notes
ZipNFC UK 1 Ship Worldwide : Excellent Quality: Next day delivery UK
WhizTags Australia 1 Tags ship blank. Worldwide shipping.
NFCmix.com Czech Republic 1 Worldwide shipping. Wide range of NFC tags, labels and accessories.
DroidTiles.com USA 1 Tags ship blank. Free shipping to US. Worldwide shipping.
Ebay seller AttiaSales USA 1 Ships worldwide from New York, USA
NFC-Nederland.nl The Netherlands 2-5 (varies by type) Largest NFC collection in The Netherlands : Sends same day
eBay seller RelaxJ82 The Netherlands 1 Ships to Worldwide from The Netherlands
nfc-tag-shop.de Germany  ??? Ships to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and The Netherland
fernlop.de Germany 2 Worldwide shipping.
Flexxline eBay Shop Germany 1 Ships to European Union and Switzerland
NFCZone Denmark 1
nfc-smartags.com France 1 paiement en bitcoin accepted
TagStand USA 1 Tags ship blank unless NDEF formatting requested. Maker of NFC Task Launcher app.
AndyTags.com USA 1 Tags ship blank. Worldwide shipping.
BuyNFCTags USA 5-1000 (varies by type)
RapidNFC UK 1
AirNFC Ireland 1 Tags can be blank or pre-programmed.
TagAge Finland 5
TouchaTag Ireland(?)  ??? Tags may be pre-formatted & locked for use with TouchaTag's own software.
CoreRFID UK  ???
Tagger.ca Canada 10 $3 flat rate shipping worldwide.
BSC (BuySmartCard) Hong Kong  ???
TagsForDroid.com USA 2-5 (varies by type)
Identive NFC USA 1 Tags may be pre-formatted & locked, have all nfc forum type,lots of design and format, worldwide shipping
The NFC Dog UK 5
NFC Netstore Finland  ???
kimtag UK  ??? Tags appear to be tied to kimtag's own service
SimpleNFC USA  ??? SimpleNFC has ceased operations as of October 31st, 2012
NFC tagstore France  ??? Tags are shipped pre-written to standard templates
aTuch INDIA, USA 1 Ships Blank Tags. Also provides encoding/writing as an option.
NFCLabels USA  ???
NFC hub UK  ???
Smartcard Focus / USA UK/USA  ??? Only ship to Europe/North America respectively(?)
Xentags Singapore 1 Free Shipping to Singapore . Also Ships worldwide. Pre-formatting and encoding service provided.
Ubitap Malaysia 1 Ships worldwide from Malaysia. Tags are NDEF pre-formatted by default. Also provides encoding service.
Shop4NFC Hong Kong 1 Ships blank tags worldwide. Coupon code "GIVEME5" for an extra 5% off.
Thumbtag USA 1 Blank business card tags (4K) and programmed smart poster tags (that come with their own webpage controlled by the customer). Ships to USA. Use coupon code 5OFF2013 for $5 off your order.
Smart-tags.org Slovakia 1 Ships worldwide from Slovakia.

NFC apps

All prices in app's 'native' currency and accurate at time of entry.

App Price Description
NFC ReTAG FREE / PRO Free / $1.79 USD Re-purpose tags that have already been written/locked
NFC Quick Actions Free / Donate Free / $0.99 USD Simple NFC task launcher
Xperia SmartTags Free Simple NFC task launcher - only compatible with Xperia SmartTags or blank tags written to mimic them
NFC Task Launcher Free Name says it all
NFC TagInfo Free Reads and displays all tag and memory information
NFC TagWriter by NXP Free Basic tag writer app. Will manually format tags to NDEF for ICS < 4.0.3
Samsung TecTile Free (currently available only in US & Canada) Amazing and easy to use Tag Writer for creating Social, Location & Web, Phone & Text and Settings & Apps NFC Tags. Works with any Mifare Ultralight C or Mifare 1K Tags.
Smart Assistant with NFC tools Free A profile and action management app. Also contains universal NFC tools – reading from, writing to, copying, deleting and locking NFC tags.
NFC Tools / PRO Free / $3.49 Read, write, and program tasks on your NFC Tags

NFC Tag uses

Related forum section

NFC Hacking - xda-developers