When it comes to paying for goods we're already big fans of touch-to-pay NFC, available on a range of credit and debit cards and a growing number of participating stores. One quick tap - assuming the bill is not more than £20 - and that's it, all paid up. There are plenty of other solutions too, such as Paypal, EE and a stack of others.

But that's in the shops. As online retail continues to accelerate - we're doing more and more shopping over the web - the way to pay is also evolving. At the Intel Developers Forum we were shown MasterPass, an online payment system that can accept an NFC card swipe via your laptop. As in using a device with the hardware built in - the Dell XPS 12 has NFC on board - and it's possible to tap to pay. Crazy yet cool.

Of course this depends on the NFC hardware present for it to function, but as manufacturers get on board the functionality will follow.

Login, shop, select MasterPass to pay and swipe your card. Boom, that's it. The checkout will know who you are, auto-fill your address and get things moving swiftly - no popping in lengthy credit card numbers.


But what of security? MasterPass takes on board verification from both hardware and software. There's a lot going on behind the scenes with individual devices and MasterPass knows your machine and your login match up to the relevant account by sending derived handshake verifications between the device, store and bank.

Logged in as your Dad and try to use your own card? It won't work, the system will think you're an imposter, which, technically, you are.

At this stage it's not quite as simple as tapping to pay as you would in a shop. There's the extra hurdle of needing to select MasterPass at the virtual checkout and then confirming login via an email and password login. It's that extra step of security that might well make sense but still adds a barrier.

Not any old Tom, Dick and Harry can set up MasterPass from a business point of view either. As Intel hardware is essential to the particular service - not an essential if, say, AMD sign up to the service in the future - the company behind the chipset remains in control of ensuring licences with agreeable companies. Safe as houses.

In this connected world it looks like we'll be tapping to pay for "anything, anywhere" in the future - including the comfort of your own home. MasterPass is available to use via NFC right now, you'll just need a compatible card, device and login credentials.