Apple Proposes Opening Apple Pay Tech to EU Rivals: Report

Apple has proposed allowing competitors access to its Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, used in mobile wallets like Apple Pay, according to three sources familiar with the matter, reports Reuters. This move could potentially settle ongoing European Union antitrust charges and avoid a significant fine.

Last year, the EU’s competition watchdog accused Apple of restricting competitors’ access to its NFC technology, hindering their ability to develop alternative mobile wallet services on Apple devices. The EU argued that this practice unfairly benefited Apple Pay, the company’s mobile wallet solution for iPhones and iPads, and highlighted Apple’s substantial market power in smart mobile devices and dominance in mobile wallet markets.

The European Commission is expected to seek feedback from rivals and customers next month to determine whether to accept Apple’s proposal. However, the timing and certainty of this market test are still subject to change.

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

In addition to the NFC case, Apple faces another EU charge related to its App Store practices. This charge, dating back to 2020, accuses Apple of preventing Spotify and other music streaming services from informing users about alternative payment options outside the App Store.

The Commission is expected to make a decision next year and ultimately the final outcome could affect Apple’s ability to run its App Store the way it sees fit.

Why does Apple not want companies to use outside payments? Bypassing the App Store means Apple loses out on its 30% starting commission for all in-app payments made by its users. Epic Games landed a win in the U.S. against Google in a similar case in California, and it hopes to win a similar case against Apple next.

Back in October 2021, EU antitrust regulators started building its antitrust case against Apple and its alleged Apple Pay monopoly.

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