EU may soon force Apple to open iPhone NFC to other payment services

EU may soon force Apple to open iPhone NFC to other payment services

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Apple Pay heads south of the border, down Mexico way
iPhone users might soon be able to use tap-to-pay with non-Apple payment systems. In the EU, anyway.
Photo: Apple

The European Union reportedly plans to accuse Apple of violating the law by limiting access to the iPhone’s NFC capabilities to the company’s own payment system. The goal is to give rival systems like PayPal access to the iPhone’s convenient tap-to-pay function.

Apple claims the limitation is there to protect users’ financial information. The EU calls it anticompetitive.

Expanding iPhone NFC tap-to-pay beyond Apple Pay

NFC is the wireless system that make it possible for you to tap your iPhone on a register to pay for purchases. It’s very convenient, especially as many shoppers move away from cash.

For iPhone users, tap-to-pay only works with Apple Pay and the Apple Wallet. It’s why you can’t, for example, tap-to-pay with PayPal. And that’s Apple’s decision, not a technical limitation.

But the EU is moving to open up the iPhone NFC system. Not by passing new laws or regulations – it will accuse Apple of violating laws already on the books, according to Financial Times.

The EU says Apple is “unfairly blocking groups such as PayPal and leading banks from accessing its mobile wallet system,” according to the report.

The iPhone-maker could face fines of up to 10% of its annual revenue if it doesn’t comply.

Apple has said in the past that opening up iPhone NFC to third-party payment systems “could be harmful to user friendliness, data protection and the security of financial information.”

The European Union is also working on legislation that may force Apple to make big changes to its App Store as well as services like FaceTime and Messages,