close
close

EU closes antitrust investigation into Apple Pay after Apple allows NFC access for iPhone

EU closes antitrust investigation into Apple Pay after Apple allows NFC access for iPhone

Back in January, Apple announced policy changes that would allow Apple Pay competitors to gain the same access to the NFC contactless chip in the iPhone. This includes allowing banking and alternative wallet apps to appear when the phone is held near an NFC terminal or when the user double-presses the side button.

After some changes, the EU finally announced today that it was satisfied with these concessions and was closing a four-year investigation into Apple’s alleged anti-competitive practices related to Apple Pay.

In theory at least, the new API access that allows other apps to become the default wallet app on the device means that the Apple Pay system option will have to compete on the basis of quality. Other banks and payment companies could now launch alternative wallet apps in the EU and fight for market share without being disadvantaged in terms of features.

As part of the additional commitments, Apple has agreed to remove the requirement that developers have a payment server provider license to obtain HCE payment eligibility. The company will also commit to continuing to evolve HCE support as industry standards evolve, including in directions that Apple Pay itself may not necessarily implement.

Access to this permission remains restricted to developers operating in the European Economic Area. It is likely that governments in other regions will, over time, push Apple to offer the same features in other countries.

This is just one of many competition investigations the EU has launched against Apple in recent years. The music streaming case was settled earlier this year, with Apple being fined $2 billion. Apple has appealed that decision.

The battle to open iOS to third-party app distribution also continues under the umbrella of the Digital Markets Act. In June, the EU said Apple’s anti-steering rules violated the DMA and is also currently investigating other aspects of the alternative terms and conditions, such as the core technology fee and the complexity of the multi-step user flow required to install a third-party app store on the phone. At the time, Apple said it was confident its plan complied with the law.

FTC: We use income generating auto affiliate links. More.