April 17, 2024
Apple to Allow Third Party Access to NFC Following EU Antitrust Investigation

Apple to Allow Third Party Access to NFC Following EU Antitrust Investigation

Posted January 19, 2024 at 4:58pm by iClarified
Apple has agreed to allow third party mobile wallet and payment service providers to access NFC capabilities on the iPhone amid an EU antitrust investigation into the company.

Apple Pay is the only mobile wallet solution that is currently allowed to access the necessary hardware and software ('NFC input') on iOS to enable mobile payments in physical stores. Apple does not make it available to third-party mobile wallet app developers.

The European Commission informed Apple of a preliminary finding that this conduct restricts competition in the market for mobile wallets on iOS devices and is in breach of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union ('TFEU'). To prevent further action by EU, Apple has offered the following commitments...

● To allow third-party mobile wallet and payment service providers to access and interoperate through a set of Application Programming Interfaces ('APIs') with the NFC functionality on iOS devices free of charge, without having to use Apple Pay or Apple Wallet. Apple would create the necessary APIs to allow equivalent access to the NFC components in the so-called Host Card Emulation ('HCE') mode, a technology issued to securely store payment credentials and complete transactions using NFC, without relying on an in-device secure element.

● To apply the commitments to all third-party mobile wallet app developers established in the European Economic Area ('EEA') and all iOS users with an Apple ID registered in the EEA. Apple will not prevent the use of these apps for payments in stores outside the EEA.

● To provide additional features and functionalities, including defaulting of preferred payment apps, access to authentication features such as FaceID and a suppression mechanism.

● To apply fair, objective, transparent, and non-discriminatory eligibility criteria to grant NFC access to third-party mobile wallet app developers, who will have to conclude an ADP license agreement to have access.

● To establish a dispute settlement mechanism under which Apple's decisions denying access to NFC input will be reviewed by independent experts.

If agreed to by the EU, the commitments offered by Apple would remain in force for ten years. Their implementation would be monitored by a monitoring trustee, who would report regularly to the Commission.

All interested parties are invited to submit their views on Apple's proposed commitments within one month from the publication of a summary of the proposed commitments in the EU's Official Journal.

If Apple's proposal is accepted and the company does not honour such commitments, the Commission can impose a fine of up to 10% of the company's worldwide turnover, without having to prove an infringement of the EU antitrust rules.

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Apple to Allow Third Party Access to NFC Following EU Antitrust Investigation
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