EU could approve Apple’s ‘tap and go’ payment proposal in May

EU antitrust regulators are likely to approve Apple’s proposal to open its tap-and-go mobile payments system to competitors. This move comes after adjustments to the terms, according to sources familiar with the matter, as reported by 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 App Store restrictions.

To recall, In 2022, the EU stated that NFC is a standardized technology present in most payment terminals, intended for safe and smooth mobile payments, not limited by manufacturers like Apple.

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

The Offer and Terms of Access

Apple’s proposal aims to settle a four-year investigation by the EU. It includes granting access to its near-field communication (NFC) technology, enabling 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, independent of Apple Pay or Apple Wallet. Access will be based on fair and non-discriminatory criteria.

Additionally, Apple proposes functionalities such as default payment app settings, authentication features like FaceID, and a dispute settlement mechanism.

Revisions and Approval

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

The European Commission aims to finalize approval by summer, likely in May, but timing may change depending on final technical details from Apple.

Apple’s willingness to open its tap-and-go system to rivals could signal a shift towards fairer competition in the mobile payments market.