Apple charged by EU Commission with antitrust complaint over Apple Pay

Tuesday 3 May 2022 11:44 CET | News

The European Commission has shared findings of an antitrust case focused on Apple Pay, which says the company doesn’t have fair competitive practices.

According to antitrust investigators, Apple abused its dominant position, as competitors can’t provide NFC-enabled contactless payments on the iPhone to develop other mobile wallets and compete fairly with Apple Pay.

The Commission says NFC is a standard technology for contactless payments and should be opened to anyone. While third-party developers can take advantage of APIs to read and write NFC tags, they can’t use the NFC antenna in their apps to build Apple Pay competitors.

Investigators explained that they have indications that Apple restricted third-party access to key technology necessary to develop rival mobile wallet solutions on Apple’s devices. In their Statement of Objections, they preliminarily found that Apple may have restricted competition, to the benefit of its own solution Apple Pay. If confirmed, such a conduct would be illegal under the competition rules.

According to Brussels regulators, the main issue is that NFC is available in almost all payments terminals but only Apple Pay can wirelessly communicate with payment terminals via NFC. It’s a standardised, safe, and seamless way to pay, which could explain why Apple Pay gained market shares.

The statement of objections is the result of an investigation that was formally opened in June 2020. At the time, the commission announced it would look at Apple Pay as a whole. Apple Pay can also be used to pay online and in app. But the Commission now says the only issue is the restriction on NFC payments.

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Keywords: Apple Pay, NFC, regulation, compliance, mobile payments, digital wallet
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: Apple Pay
Countries: Europe
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