EU Officially Objects to Apple Limiting Third-Party Access to Apple Pay NFC Capabilities

In line with a report late last week, the European Commission today officially announced that it has issued a Statement of Objections to Apple over its restrictions that prevent third-party services from accessing the NFC capabilities of the iPhone, thereby restricting competition in mobile wallets on iOS.

Apple Pay Feature
The statement is a preliminary view that will need to be confirmed with further investigation before any consequences can be administered, but lays out the direction the investigation is headed.

The European Commission has informed Apple of its preliminary view that it abused its dominant position in markets for mobile wallets on iOS devices. By limiting access to a standard technology used for contactless payments with mobile devices in stores (‘Near-Field Communication (NFC)' or ‘tap and go'), Apple restricts competition in the mobile wallets market on iOS.

European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager argues that access to NFC is a requirement for viable mobile wallet services at brick-and-mortar locations.

Our concerns relate to Apple's decision to block access to the NFC technology for payment purposes and use it solely for its own mobile wallet, Apple Pay. As a result, users of Apple devices can only pay with the ‘tap and go' function using Apple Pay and not with other wallets. This is because competing wallet developpers need access to the NFC on Apple devices to reach Apple users.

Developing a mobile payment application is costly. Investment may only be worth it if developers can reach both Apple and Android customers. Evidence on our file indicates that some developers did not go ahead with their plans as they were not able to to reach iPhone users. This behaviour stifled innovation and prevented competition in the mobile wallet market. As a result, European consumers have little choice of mobile payment solutions when paying in shops.

Vestager mentions that Apple has cited security as its rationale for not allowing third-party access to NFC, but that regulators' investigation have not found any evidence of that risk.

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Top Rated Comments

5232152 Avatar
28 months ago
As the world is shifting towards mobile payment across the world it is only fair that the people has access to the technology on fair terms and not on the cooperates terms. Power to the people.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mlody Avatar
28 months ago
How about the same geniuses come to states and force Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, Marianos and many other big box stores to also open up NFC and allow people to pay with such tech as apple pay etc.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Paul Shields Avatar
28 months ago
If I wanted 15 different apps to pay for things I'd buy an Android phone
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
singularity0993 Avatar
28 months ago
Why do people defend Apple for this? Such restrictions severely limited iPhone’s capabilities. My friends are able to authenticate at the main gate simply by swiping their Android phones while iPhone users have to search for their card in their wallet every time. Popular payment systems in my country are also forced to use QR code instead of NFC because iPhones don’t have support (Apple Pay is available but nobody really uses it). As an iPhone user I’m frustrated by such software limitation and absolutely supports EU on this.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
28 months ago

Apple has cited security as its rationale for not allowing third-party access to NFC

Apple either thinks we're all idiots, or that we're three-year-olds walking around in circles bumping into furniture.
I also find it kind of ballsy from Apple to claim that they are the only ones to understand security somehow ??‍♂️

Lets face it, anything is more secure than the waiter of American restaurants storming off with your credit card to pay. Every time that happens I am like wtf. Here in Germany, they are not even allowed to touch your card, not even to place it on the handheld for you. You have to do it yourself.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rychiar Avatar
28 months ago

How about the same geniuses come to states and force Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, Marianos and many other big box stores to also open up NFC and allow people to pay with such tech as apple pay etc.
Agreed! I’ve had to go to Home Depot and Walmart so much lately for yard work stuff and it’s annoying as hell to not be able to use Apple Pay like I do everywhere else
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)