PayPal Played Role in EU Antitrust Complaint About Apple Wallet
Apple Pay competitor PayPal played a role in the EU's decision to target Apple with antitrust complaints about its mobile wallet, reports Bloomberg. PayPal was one of "multiple companies" that filed informal complaints about the way Apple restricts third-party apps from accessing the NFC capabilities of the iPhone, which in turn led to the European Commission issuing a Statement of Objections against Apple.
The European Commission believes that Apple is unfairly limiting access to the NFC chip, preventing PayPal, Venmo, banks, and other payment services from offering features that are equivalent to Apple Pay, which in turn limits the mobile payment options that iPhone users have access to in stores.
No third-party apps are able to access NFC on the iPhone, so Apple Pay is the only tap to pay payment method available. Apple claims that the restriction is designed to safeguard user privacy and security, but it will now face an EU investigation.
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.
PayPal has an Apple Pay-like tap to pay option that's available to Android users, and the company wants to be able to offer a similar feature on the iPhone. Such a feature would require PayPal to use the NFC chip in the iPhone, but it is not able to do so with Apple's current restrictions.
Apple does have plans to allow third-party apps to use the NFC chip for the upcoming "Tap to Pay on iPhone" feature that will allow compatible iPhones to accept payments through Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets with no hardware required, but it is not equivalent to the tap to pay Apple Pay equivalent that PayPal is after.
According to Apple, Apple Pay rivals like PayPal are popular on iPhone without a direct tap to pay option, but the company plans to "continue to engage with the commission to ensure European consumers have access to the payment option of their choice in a safe and secure environment."
This is not the first time that Apple has faced criticism for restricting access to NFC on the iPhone. Australian banks back in 2017 wanted access to NFC in order to launch an alternative to Apple Pay, but they were not successful.
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