The early conclusions of an antitrust complaint involving Apple Pay on iOS devices have been released by the European Commission. Apple utilized its strong position to build alternative mobile wallets and compete fairly with Apple Pay, according to antitrust regulators, because competitors can’t deliver NFC-enabled contactless payments on the iPhone.
According to the Commission, NFC is a standard technology for contactless payments that should be made available to everyone. Third-party developers can utilize APIs to read and write NFC tags, but they can’t use the NFC antenna in their applications to create Apple Pay rivals.
“In our digital economy, mobile payments are becoming increasingly important. Consumers benefit from a competitive and innovative payments landscape, which is critical for the integration of European Payments markets.”
Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s Executive Vice President, stated in a statement. “We have evidence that Apple has limited third-party access to crucial technology needed to establish competing mobile wallet systems on Apple devices.” We uncovered preliminary evidence in our Statement of Objections that Apple may have limited competition to benefit from its own solution, Apple Pay. “Such activity would be prohibited under our competition guidelines if verified,” she continued.
The key difficulty, according to Brussels officials, is that while NFC is accessible in practically all payment terminals, only Apple Pay can connect wirelessly with payment terminals through NFC. It’s a standardized, secure, and easy method of payment, which may explain why Apple Pay has grown in popularity.
The statement of objections filed today is the outcome of an inquiry that began in June 2020. The Commission declared at the time that it will investigate Apple Pay as a whole. Apple Pay may also be used to make in-app and internet purchases. However, the Commission now claims that the main issue is the ban on NFC payments.
“Apple Pay is only one of several payment alternatives accessible to European consumers,” Apple said in a statement. “Apple Pay has provided equitable access to NFC while maintaining industry-leading standards for privacy and security.”