By now you’ve likely heard lots of chatter about Near Field Communication, as it’s being touted as the next big breakthrough in mobile payment methods.

Basically NFC allows mobile device owners to use their phones to make purchases, eliminating the need for credit cards.

Google is already highly interested in the technology as evident by its inclusion in the Nexus S by Samsung. Now reports are surfacing that NFC will be included in the iPhone 5 as well…

Just what are the benefits to Apple, and more importantly, what will the benefits be to end users?

Well, for Apple, the plus sides are obvious; the main point being that it won’t have to eat as many credit card fees associated with transactions occurring on iTunes, the Apple Store, etc.

Pushing these cheaper methods of payments benefits most retailers, not just Apple. A second, even more lucrative possibility for Apple is strategically placed iAds at higher premium rates.

NFC is a technology that can beam and receive information within 4 inches of its destination, so strategically placed ads could come into play depending on where a customer is shopping, or what they decide to purchase.

Apple could understandably ask for a higher fee for such ads since the possibility of a quick turnaround is higher than if the customer was sitting at home mulling over a purchase.

For the end users, the benefits are there too; quicker, more diverse payment options and less stuff to carry around.

Proponents of NFC face an uphill battle as they try to get retailers and hardware manufacturers to adopt the technology. With Apple behind it, the adoption rate could increase dramatically.

Stay tuned for more information concerning the iPhone 5 and NFC.

What do you think about the possibility of a virtual wallet?

[Bloomberg]