EU Could Force Apple To Share Payments Tech With Competitors


The European Union (EU) could pass new laws that would make it mandatory for Apple to share the payments technology in its iPhones, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The new laws would prevent developers from restricting access to their near-field communication (NFC) technology embedded in the phones or other devices, like smartwatches.

Documents obtained by Bloomberg mention NFC, which is used to handle wireless signals that let users make payments on their devices at store terminals instead of on cards.

Apple isn’t mentioned by name in the EU report, but currently, iPhone and Apple Watch users have to use Apple Pay to make NFC payments, and banks and other competitors want that functionality, too, saying Apple won’t give them the technology, Bloomberg reported.

Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment to Bloomberg, but its argument in the past for restricting the chip technology to its own apps is that releasing it to a broader audience could heighten the risk of fraud.

In the report, which is slated to be revealed next week, the EU acknowledges the risks and says it would take precautions to that effect, spelling out exactly when it would be acceptable to share the data. Any EU legislation would also come on the heels of the German rules from earlier this year making it imperative for operators of digital money infrastructure to allow access to competitors for reasonable prices.

The EU earlier this summer said its antitrust probe would look into both the App Store and Apple Pay. The focus is on whether the tech giant has used its influence to wall off customers from choices, newer innovations and competitive pricing. The limited access to NFC functionality has been a focus since that time, PYMNTS reported.

Users of Apple Pay might soon see more benefits, such as QR code-based payments, through the Wallet app. That method wouldn’t require NFC, the company said.