Dutch Antitrust Probe Targets Contactless Payments Like Apple Pay

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) today announced an investigation into contactless platforms on smartphones and the access that payment apps have to NFC capabilities.

apple pay contactless terminal
According to the ACM, the software that's on some smartphones "only allows the developer's own payment app to connect to NFC communication," preventing third-party payment apps from also being able to use NFC capabilities.

Apple is not specifically mentioned in the press release, nor are any other smartphone manufacturers, but on iPhones, Apple Pay is the only payment method able to use NFC. Apple does not permit other financial apps to use NFC, which has resulted in disputes with some banks and financial institutions.

In Australia, for example, banks petitioned the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in an effort to negotiate with Apple over ‌Apple Pay‌. The banks wanted open access for the NFC function on the iPhones. The bid was not successful and NFC continues to be restricted to ‌Apple Pay‌ on Apple devices.

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets says that limiting NFC on smartphones "may stifle innovation with respect to payment apps" as well as reducing freedom of choice for consumers and businesses.

The ACM plans to investigate whether limiting the payment apps' access to NFC does indeed reduce freedom of choice, and if that is indeed the outcome of the investigation, there could be a penalty, such as a fine.

As Bloomberg points out, ‌Apple Pay‌ is also under investigation by the European Commission to determine whether Apple's terms, conditions, and other measures related to the use of ‌Apple Pay‌ distort competition and reduce choice and innovation. The EC too is concerned that ‌Apple Pay‌ is the only mobile payment solution able to access NFC functionality for payments on Apple Devices.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Top Rated Comments

Jaro65 Avatar
47 months ago
I can configure whatever credit card I want to use under Apple Pay. Apple Pay itself is free. So what is really the problem?
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sniffies Avatar
47 months ago
Next: European Antitrust Probe Targets Tim Cook's Underwear
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Red Oak Avatar
47 months ago
All banks DO have access to Apple’s NFC. They simply need to allow their cards to work in Apple’s Wallet

The idea that one of these banks is going to create their own app and payment network with retailer support is ludicrous
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oneteam Avatar
47 months ago

I can configure whatever credit card I want to use under Apple Pay. Apple Pay itself is free. So what is really the problem?
It seems like banks want to have access of the iPhone's NFC chip. Maybe banks want users to use the bank's app instead of Apple Pay.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RHohn5392 Avatar
47 months ago
I wanna use the NFC chip on my debit card to gain access to my apartment building. Can't do it. Guess I should call Chase and have them look into it. When they say no, I'll reach out to a antitrust lawyer to have them look into it.

Yes, I'm being sarcastic. I just don't see the difference in the situation.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SDJim Avatar
47 months ago
This is getting ridiculous. How about Apple just doesn't include an NFC chip at all? Would that make you happy?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)