Apple may be forced to allow third-party payment apps to access the NFC chip on the iPhone and Apple Watch without having to use Apple Pay. The EU is considering new antitrust legislation in response to complaints from banks that Apple’s restrictions on access to the chip are competitive.
Germany has already passed a law requiring this …
The NFC chip in iPhones and Apple Watches can be read by payment terminals so that they can process payments. In principle, any bank or financial app can use this chip to process payments – but Apple restricts access so that payments can only be made via Apple Pay. Apple is taking a small cut of all transactions made via Apple Pay, which some banks complain is an anti-competitive measure.
In November last year, the German parliament passed a law requiring Apple to make the chip available to third-party companies.
A German parliamentary committee unexpectedly voted in a late night session on Wednesday to force the technology giant to open Apple Pay to competing suppliers in Germany.
This came in the form of an amendment to a law on combating money laundering, which was passed late on Thursday by the full parliament and is set to enter into force early next year.
The legislation, which does not specifically name Apple, will force electronic money infrastructure operators to offer access to rivals for a reasonable fee.
Access to NFC chips may be required throughout Europe
Last year, the EU antitrust regulator opened a cartel investigation into the fact that Apple restricted NFC access for payment purposes, and Bloomberg reports that it is now considering a new law for the whole of Europe.
The EU is considering new rules that are likely to require Apple to give competitors access to payment technology in iPhones.
The new laws would prevent mobile device manufacturers from restricting access to near-field communication technology built into smartphones and other devices such as smartwatches, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg […]
The report will be unveiled next week by the European Commission as part of a package of political proposals […]
“In parallel with the ongoing and future enforcement of the competition, the Commission will examine whether it is appropriate to propose legislation aimed at ensuring the right of access, under fair, equitable and non-discriminatory conditions, to technical infrastructure deemed necessary to support payment services, ”says the EU in the document.
Bloomberg says that neither Apple nor the European Commission commented.
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