Apple agrees to allow NFC payments from third party companies in EU

NFC payments - EU and Apple

The iPhone maker has offered to make near field communication transactions available to rivals.

Apple and the European Commission have reached the next step in their long-running disagreement over the use of the iPhone maker’s NFC payments services.

The American company has now offered to allow rivals to use the tech, possibly ending this dispute.

The European Commission has announced that Apple intends to open its NFC payments technology, used for contactless or tap-and-go transactions, to third-party mobile wallet providers. There have been rumors about this move circulating for about a month, but the European Commission has now officially confirmed that this is the iPhone maker’s intention.

NFC payments - European Commission - Hand holding up phone

This step could bring an end to a disagreement between the European Commission and Apple that has been ongoing since early 2020. Four years ago, the European Commission launched an investigation into Apple regarding its potential restrictions of rival mobile wallet providers’ access to the device near field communication technology. In 2022, the Commission announced that it was charging Apple with allegedly violating the antitrust laws in the European Union. If Apple had been found guilty, it could have faced a massive fine.

Apple previously said it didn’t allow third-party use of its NFC payments technology for security reasons.

That said, Apple has now offered to allow third parties mobile wallets to access the near field communication functionality without charging a fee or the use of Apple Pay or its wallet. This would also involve the use of tech that would ensure that payment information would remain secure. All this, assuming the iPhone maker’s offer is approved by the European Commission.

This change would apply to any developers and iOS users that are registered within the European Economic Area (EEA). That said, individuals residing outside the EEA could potentially also use third-party apps with near field communication functionality. According to Apple, it intends to use the services of an independent reviewer in situations where its denial of access to NFC payments technology is disputed.

The European Commission is now examining and considering Apple’s proposal. Part of this effort is to share the proposed changes with Apple’s mobile wallet competitors to request their feedback.

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