Quick, which one of these logos is the NFC logo?
#2 is the NFC Forum logo for NFC certified devices. #1 is the EMV contactless acceptance mark found on payment terminals. #3 is the FeliCa mobile contactless mark. EMV contactless actually has two logos, one for the reader (left) and one that goes on the card (right):
For most people EMV logos are NFC. EMV logos are functional and do the job but my personal preference is for the older slightly more abstract FeliCa mark used on both readers and smartphones. However, it’s easy to see that both EMV contactless and FeliCa acceptance marks suffer from similar flaws: both were created in the ‘contactless is a plastic card’ era and show their age. As different contactless payment form factors blossom and evolve plastic cards will become quaint relics, still around but not used that much. Card and thumb icons will look like a horse and buggy to future generations.
That’s always the challenge when designing function marks and icons: trying to anticipate what can change and what remains the same. Once a design choice is made, everybody has to live with it for a very long time.