Apple reaches deal with EU to open mobile payments system to rivals

The EU formally opened an investigation into Apple Pay in 2020. The investigation focused on Apple’s requirements for integrating Apple Pay into apps and websites, as well as concerns about its tap-and-go technology and alleged denials of access to Apple Pay.

In 2022, the European Commission concluded that Apple Pay could restrict competition because it was the only option for iPhone users. Apple has since made several commitments to address the concerns, and in January offered to give rivals access to its contactless payment and mobile wallet technology.

Apple has pledged to give third-party developers access to NFC technology without charging a fee, to provide access to key iPhone features like Face ID for competing payment wallets, and to give users the ability to set any wallet they want as the default option, Vestager explained.

Earlier this year, the European Commission tested Apple’s commitments to gather feedback on the proposals. After its review, the commission concluded that Apple’s final commitments address concerns about the tech giant’s limitations in allowing third parties access to its tap-and-go payment technology. The changes have now been made legally binding on Apple.

“The commitments bring significant changes to the way Apple operates in Europe, bringing benefits to competitors and customers,” Vestager said.

“From now on, Apple can no longer use its control over the iPhone ecosystem to keep other mobile wallets out of the market. Competing wallet developers, as well as consumers, will benefit from these changes, enabling innovation and choice while keeping payments secure,” she added.

The iPhone maker now has until July 25 to implement the commitments, Vestager said. All developers will then be able to offer mobile wallets for iPhones using the tap and go technology, she explained. The commitments will remain in effect for 10 years.

“Apple is enabling developers in the European Economic Area to enable NFC contactless payments and contactless transactions for car keys, closed transit, corporate cards, house keys, hotel keys, loyalty points/rewards, and event tickets from within their iOS apps using APIs based on Host Card Emulation,” Apple said in emailed responses.

It was also stated that no changes will be made to Apple Pay or Apple Wallet following the investigation.

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