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EU accepts Apple's offer to open up contactless payments

The European Union (EU) on Thursday accepted commitments offered by Apple over how it operates Apple Pay to end a long-running competition investigation

EU accepts Apples offer to open up contactless payments
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EU accepts Apple's offer to open up contactless payments

London, July 11: The European Union (EU) on Thursday accepted commitments offered by Apple over how it operates Apple Pay to end a long-running competition investigation.

"The Commission has decided to accept commitments offered by Apple. These commitments address our preliminary concerns that Apple may have illegally restricted competition for mobile wallets on iPhones," said Commission EVP Margrethe Vestager, who heads up the EU’s competition division.

"Apple has until July 25 to implement their commitments. As of this date, developers will be able to offer a mobile wallet on the iPhone with the same 'tap and go' experience that so far has been reserved for Apple Pay," she added.

In 2020, the EU formally launched an antitrust investigation related to Apple Pay. The investigation looked at the terms and conditions Apple sets for integrating Apple Pay in apps and websites and concerns around the 'tap and go' technology and alleged refusals of accessing Apple Pay.

In 2022, the Commission found that Apple Pay could restrict competition as it was the only option for iPhone users.

"Our preliminary finding was therefore that Apple abused its dominant position by refusing to supply the NFC technology to competing mobile wallet developers," the Commission mentioned.

In Europe, the most widely available technology for mobile payments in stores is called ‘Near Field Communication' (NFC). This technology enables wireless communication between a mobile phone and a store's payments terminal. It allows users to ‘tap and go' with their mobile phone.

NFC technology was not developed by Apple. It is a standardised technology and made available for free.

Apple refused to give access to the NFC technology on the iPhone to rival wallet developers and instead reserved the use of the technology on the iPhone to its own mobile wallet solution, the Commission said.

Now, the Commission has ended the investigation and mentioned that iPhone users will be able to use their preferred mobile wallet for payments in stores.

"They will be able to do so while enjoying all the iPhone's functionalities, including tap-and-go, Double-Click and FaceID," it added.

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