Apple May Ease NFC Restrictions in Europe

Published: December 14, 2023

Apple has reportedly offered to let rivals access its tap-and-go mobile payments systems

To avoid a hefty fine, Apple is reportedly ready to easy restrictions of near-field Communication (NFC) in Europe.

Apple has offered to let rivals access its tap-and-go mobile payments systems used for mobile wallets, according to a report in Reuters. The move would settle the European Union’s (EU) antitrust charges and stave off a possible hefty fine in the amount of up to 10% of their global annual turnover if found guilty of breaching EU antitrust rules.

The case stems from EU’s competition arm that accused Apple with curbing rivals’ access to its tap-and-go technology, making it difficult for them to develop rival services on Apple devices

EU Investigation

In its investigation, the EU noted curbing NFC benefited Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile wallet on iPhones and iPads, and pointed to the company’s significant market power in the market for smart mobile devices and dominance in mobile wallet markets.

Apple Pay is used by more than 2,500 banks in Europe and over 250 fintechs and challenger banks. The NFC chip enables tap-and-go payments on iPhones and iPads.

The European Commission will reportedly seek feedback next month from rivals and customers before deciding whether to accept Apple’s offer. The timing of the market test and whether it will go ahead could still change, according to the article.

Decision in 2024

The commission is expected to issue a decision next year that could include a fine and an order to stop this practice.

Apple faces a second charge of preventing Spotify and other music streaming companies from informing users of other buying options outside its App Store in a case dating from 2020.