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EU Regulators Set to Accept Apple’s Proposals on Tap-and-Go Tech

iPhone, mobile payments

European Union (EU) antitrust regulators are reportedly preparing to approve Apple’s tap-and-go mobile payments system proposals as early as May. 

The tech company had proposed to open the system to rivals after being accused by the European Commission (EC) of thwarting competition. 

After getting feedback from Apple’s rivals and customers, and having the company make some modifications to its proposals, the regulators are set to approve them, Reuters reported Friday (April 19), citing unnamed sources.

By settling the investigation, Apple could avoid a finding of wrongdoing and a fine of as much as 10% of its global annual turnover, according to the report.

The investigation centers on Apple’s tap-and-go technology, or near-field communication (NFC), that lets mobile wallets make contactless payments, the report said.

The EC said two years ago that Apple had harmed competition in the mobile wallet space by preventing rivals from accessing that technology on its mobile devices, per the report.

In January, Apple offered to let its rivals do so, provide additional functionalities and create a mechanism for settling disputes, according to the report.

While the EC aims to accept the proposal in May, or at least by summer, the timing could change if Apple needs to complete the final technical details, the report said.

NFC technology has enabled contactless payments with the Apple Pay mobile wallet on Apple’s smartphone since the launched of the iPhone 6, PYMNTS reported in November 2022.

Unlike users of Android phones, iPhone users have no alternative options if they want to make NFC payments, as the terms of Apple’s development agreement forbid third parties from using the iPhone’s NFC chip in such a way.

NFC technology has become a flashpoint in the jousting between Big Tech and regulators in the United States too, with a September report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) spotlighting Apple’s NFC chip policies.

The CFPB wrote in its report that broadening access to the technology “could incentivize all of the providers to innovate, to develop new features and services that would keep their customers from switching.”

Those providers could include banks, retailers and established payment app providers, all of which have an incentive to develop tap-to-pay apps for Apple devices, the CFPB wrote.