EU may force Apple to open contactless payment tech to rival services

By

Square Terminal could help more businesses accept Apple Pay.
At least, if the European Union laws are as expected.
Photo: Square

Apple Pay may wind up being just one of several mobile payments services available on the iPhone if the European Union gets its way, Bloomberg reported Friday.

The report claims that the EU is weighing up new rules that would compel companies like Apple to open up the NFC (Near Field Communication) tech in its smartphones and watches to rival players. That could mean that Apple Pay isn’t the only option for customers who want to pay for products with their Apple device.

The EU doesn’t explicitly mention Apple in its report. But the rules would almost certainly apply to Apple Pay — in Europe at least. To date, Apple has refused to open up the NFC technologies to banks and other players. This makes it impossible for rival services like WeChat Pay or Samsung Pay available on iPhone.

“In parallel with its ongoing and future competition enforcement, the Commission will examine whether it is appropriate to propose legislation aimed at securing a right of access under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions, to technical infrastructures considered necessary to support the provision of payment services,” the EU report notes.

Apple has previously argued that letting others access its NFC chip could increase fraud and other security breaches. This would be bad news for customers. The EU’s report says it will take into account the “potential security and other risks that such access could pose.”

Apple Pay and antirust investigations

The EU has probed Apple Pay regarding potential anti-competitiveness before. In 2019, EU regulators asked online retailers if they were contractually obligated to use Apple‘s payment system over rival services.

This latest investigation comes at a time when Apple is being heavily scrutinized regarding possible antitrust violations. Other investigations have mainly focused on the App Store. However, Apple Pay has also been subject to scrutiny for similar reasons.

Would you be in favor of other mobile payments services available on iPhone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.