EU charges Apple for restricting ‘tap and go’ NFC technology for payments

EU charges Apple for restricting ‘tap and go’ NFC technology for payments

According to the European Commission, Apple has received a “Statement of Objections” for suspected anticompetitive behaviour involving the use of NFC input for payments, which is forbidden by the TFEU under Article 102. The EU’s antitrust action might result in massive fines for the corporation. This allegation is the outcome of the company’s prohibition on third-party software developers’ use of ‘tap and go’ technology for payments.

Apple Pay is the only mobile wallet app on iOS that has an option to access the NFC input on iOS, which is a root cause for this move from the EU. Due to these restrictions, ‘tap and go’ technology which uses data from NFC for in-store payments cannot be accessed by third-party mobile wallet software developers. EU

can be made using Apple mobile devices using NFC. Using this technology, a customer’s mobile phone can communicate with a store’s payment terminals. It is now possible to make mobile payments in the safest and most convenient manner possible thanks to the widespread availability of NFC-enabled payment terminals.

EU claims that NFC is a standardized technology that is present in practically all payment terminals in stores and enables for the safest and most smooth mobile payments, and it is not intended to be limited by the manufacturer.

Apple’s dominating position in the market for mobile wallets on its operating system iOS, according to the Commission, inhibits competition by reserving access to NFC technology to Apple Pay. This has an exclusionary effect on competitors, resulting in less innovation and less choice for iPhone users when it comes to mobile wallets.

As these antitrust claims are at an initial stage, Apple still has a chance to answer the EU’s claims, either in writing or at a hearing with members of the Commission and other national competition authorities in the upcoming days.

Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said,

Mobile payments play a rapidly growing role in our digital economy. It is important for the integration of European Payments markets that consumers benefit from a competitive and innovative payments landscape. We have indications that Apple restricted third-party access to key technology necessary to develop rival mobile wallet solutions on Apple’s devices. In our Statement of Objections, we 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 our competition rules.