In the Bruxelles viewfinder, Apple offers to open access to its NFC chip at banks

Apple Pay’s exclusivity on mobile payments is likely to live in Europe in Europe. Friday, January 19, Brussels announced that the Apple group offered to open access to the NFC chip to other actors, which would allow the emergence of real rival solutions, designed in particular by banks and Online payment specialists.

Contested monopoly

This concession follows the opening of an antitrust procedure by the European Commission in May 2022. This concerned a potential abuse of dominant position: limiting the use of NFC technology, essential to make contactless payments, at Apple Pay system.

For a long time, Apple justified these restrictions by an issue of safety and protection of user data. An argument that no longer seems to convince. The company also stressed that 2,500 European banks use Apple Pay. But she forgot to recall that all these establishments must pay him a commission on each transaction.

This monopoly had been denounced for years by banks and payment players, such as the giant Paypal which is one of the companies that had alerted Brussels. Several of them have tried to design alternative solutions, not based on the NFC. But these are less practical, not allowing them to really compete.

Use at no cost
To avoid a conviction, accompanied by a heavy fine of up to 10% of the global turnover, the Cupertino group now offers to let other contactless payment solutions use the NFC functionality, without fees and without obligation to go through Apple Pay.

This opening will apply to all companies in the European Economic Area (which brings together the 27 countries of the European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). And to all users of iOS recorded in the region. These third -party solutions can be used to pay purchases all over the world.

Apple also undertakes to allow users to choose their default payment system – who may not be Apple Pay. It will also let payment platforms use facial recognition as a way of authentication of their customers.

Public consultation

In addition, the group will have to set up a “fair, objective, transparent and non -discriminatory” system to grant NFC access to companies that request it. In the event of refusal, the latter will be able to call upon a college of independent experts.

The European Commission has just launched a period of public consultation, after which it can accept Apple’s proposals. In this case, these will be valid for ten years. Otherwise, Brussels could sanction Apple and impose even greater changes to it.

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