Germany Passes Law Forcing Apple to Open Up iPhone's NFC Chip to Apple Pay Rivals, But Loophole May Exist

A parliamentary committee in Germany on Wednesday passed an amendment to an anti-money laundering law that would force Apple to open up the NFC chip in iPhones to competing mobile payment providers, according to Reuters. The report claims the law is set to come into effect early next year.


In a statement to Reuters, Apple said it was "surprised" about the sudden decision and expressed security concerns.

"We are surprised at how suddenly this legislation was introduced," an Apple spokesperson said. "We fear that the draft law could be harmful to user friendliness, data protection and the security of financial information."

As noted by German financial website Finanz-Szene, however, there appears to be a provision in the law that could allow Apple to keep the NFC chip locked down. Specifically, it appears that Apple might be able to argue that opening up the NFC chip would put the security of its customers at risk.

A rough translation of the passage:
Exceptionally, the system undertaking is not required to comply with paragraph 1 if there are reasonable grounds for refusal to make the provision available. These exist, in particular, if the system undertaking can demonstrate that the safety and integrity of the technical infrastructure services is specifically jeopardized by the provision of such facilities. The rejection must be reasonably justified.
Earlier this month, the European Union's competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager acknowledged that her department has received "many concerns" over Apple Pay and potential anticompetitive issues. Australia's big banks have also sought open access to the NFC chip on the iPhone in recent years.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: Germany

Top Rated Comments

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4 weeks ago
The future isn’t government micro-regulating the tech industry either.
Rating: 53 Votes
4 weeks ago
Dear Bundestag, i demand to be able to use my debit card from HypoVereinsBank to withdraw money from my citibank account.
also, how anticompetitive is that i can withdraw money from an ATM of a different bank only if i pay 5-10EUR extra fee?
no one wants to regulate that?
Rating: 43 Votes
4 weeks ago
why would anyone even want to use anything other than Apple Pay?
Rating: 40 Votes
4 weeks ago
Apple should pull out from Germany in retaliation.
Rating: 33 Votes
4 weeks ago


Apple isn't as good at security as google. Android phones can handle google pay and Samsung pay at the same time.

lol, you must be joking. You are praising a low bar. Apple Pay's tokenization method is miles ahead of Google pay. They store on their server where you made purchases, Apple keeps no record. That alone makes them superior.
Rating: 25 Votes
4 weeks ago
I have no idea if this is a good idea or not in particular but it’s asinine that we can’t get all of these tap to pay providers working on all tap to pay devices.

The future is not “everybody having their own locked down solution”
Rating: 25 Votes
4 weeks ago


why would anyone even want to use anything other than Apple Pay?


Freedom of choice is great, even if Apple Pay is the best choice right now. It creates competition and drives innovation.
Rating: 24 Votes
4 weeks ago
If the German parliament is concerned about this for reasons of competition, they shouldn't be (mis)using anti-money laundering legislation to address it. If no appropriate laws exist within current legislation, then what Apple are doing isn't illegal and the government shouldn't abuse legislation to try and make it so, but should move to introduce fitting legislation through the correct process otherwise it just looks like a vendetta.
Rating: 22 Votes
4 weeks ago


why would anyone even want to use anything other than Apple Pay?

Why would anyone want to use anything other than apple apps.
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Apple isn't as good at security as google. Android phones can handle google pay and Samsung pay at the same time.
Rating: 22 Votes
4 weeks ago


So next Apple should block bluetooth connections for anything other than AirPods and Apple Watches to prevent "rivals somehow being able to profit"?


Yes. If they felt that would generate the best customer experience, they should be able to do that. Customers have a choice to buy or not to buy their product. If they do not agree with Apple's decision, they have choices. Given that Apple's market share in Germany is about 25%, it seems that it is pretty easy for people to choose other options.

It's a NFC chip the customer paid for, not "their [Apple's] platform"


It is a component integrated with the Secure Enclave, that Apple built. The customer did not pay for the NFC chip, they paid for the product that Apple sold them. Apple is clear about this upfront and if people do not like their decisions, they have options.

Up next: Dropbox banned from using internet provided by Apple's WiFi/cellular chips because of security concerns and you can pay for iCloud anyway


Again, if Apple disclosed that before people purchased the devices, unless they have a monopoly position (in the actual market of smart phones, not iPhones), that is between them and the market.

Again, I am not advocating that they do these things, just arguing that your position is flawed. Apple sells a complete package that most Apple users like. Forcing them to open every component costs resources and introduces potential security issues that does nothing to benefit most of their users and actually harms them.
Rating: 20 Votes

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