The long-running dispute between the European Commission and Apple over the use of its payment technology could soon come to an end. The Commission has officially announced Apple's plan to open up its Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, used for tap-and-go payments, to third-party mobile wallet providers. Rumors of Apple's proposal first surfaced in December 2023.
The Commission opened an investigation into Apple in 2020 over potentially restricting rival mobile wallet pay developers' access to necessary technology, thus eliminating Apple Pay's competition. Two years later, it announced charges against Apple for allegedly violating the European Union's antitrust laws, which, if proven, could leave Apple with a massive bill.
Apple's proposal compromises on its previous assertions that third parties could negatively impact security. If approved, Apple would, among other things, allow third parties to APIs with NFC functionality — no fee or use of Apple Pay or wallet required. This shift would include access to technology that keeps payment information secure. Apple would apply this to any developers and iOS users registered in the European Economic Area (EEA). However, people outside the EEA might still be able to use third-party apps. Apple also claims it will call upon an independent reviewer in disputed instances where the company denied NFC access. All suggested changes and prior press releases on the case are available here.
As expected, the European Commission has not rushed to accept Apple's proposed commitments. Instead, it has laid them out and requested feedback from Apple's rivals (and any other interested entities) on whether the laid-out changes are acceptable.