The EU is investigating Apple over Apple Pay and alleged anti-competitive practices.
A new Reuters report indicates that EU antitrust regulators are prepping themselves to charge Apple for anti-competitive practices surrounding the use of contactless payments.
With the introduction of Apple Pay, the company has incorporated an NFC chip in its mobile devices since 2014 to facilitate payments, but regulators claim that the technology giant has unfairly locked out other contactless payment services.
The EU’s antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, began an investigation into Apple Pay in June taking a closer look at the NFC chip, terms and conditions, and the fact that rival providers cannot access the payment system. The focus is understood now to be just on the NFC Chip, as only the Apple Pay service can currently access it.
Vestager said “it appears that Apple sets the conditions on how Apple Pay should be used in merchants’ apps and websites. It also reserves the ‘tap and go’ functionality of iPhones to Apple Pay. It is important that Apple’s measures do not deny consumers the benefits of new payment technologies, including better choice, quality, innovation, and competitive prices. I have therefore decided to take a close look at Apple’s practices regarding Apple Pay and their impact on competition.”
The EU is now believed to be preparing a statement of objections to charge Apple with anticompetitive conduct, which is expected to be sent to the company next year. The antitrust charge could put Apple at risk of a large fine and force it to open the NFC chip to rival payment systems in Europe.