EU antitrust regulators are likely to approve Apple's proposal to open up its mobile payments system to competitors. This move comes after adjustments to the terms, according to sources familiar with the matter Reuters.

Addressing previous issues

Apple's move to open up its system comes after it faced a hefty 1.84 billion euro ($2 billion) fine from the EU last month. This penalty stemmed from allegations of stifling competition, particularly against Spotify and other music streaming rivals, through restrictions on the App Store.

To remember, in 2022, the EU stated that NFC is a standardized technology present in most payment terminals, intended for secure and smooth mobile payments, not limited by manufacturers such as Apple.

The Commission considers that Apple's dominance of the iOS mobile wallet market restricts competition by reserving access to NFC technology for Apple Pay, leading to less innovation and choice for iPhone users in mobile wallets.

The offer and conditions of access

Apple's proposal aims to resolve a four-year investigation by the EU. It includes access to its Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which enables contactless payments through mobile wallets. The offer extends to iPhones, iPads and other Apple devices.

Rival mobile wallet app developers would have free access to Apple's NFC technology, regardless of Apple Pay or Apple Wallet. Access will be based on fair and non-discriminatory criteria.

In addition, Apple proposes features such as default payment app settings, authentication features such as FaceID, and a dispute resolution mechanism.

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Reviews and approval

Following feedback from competitors and customers, Apple made adjustments to its proposal. The proposed NFC access would be valid for a period of 10 years.

The European Commission aims to finalize approval by the summer, likely in May, but the timetable could change depending on Apple's final technical details.

Apple's willingness to open up its click-to-go system to rivals could signal a shift toward fairer competition in the mobile payments market.


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