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Is the EU prepared to force Apple Pay to open NFC access?

It has been reported by Bloomberg that The European Union is considering new rules that would require Apple Pay to give competitors access to payments technology inside its phones.

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Is the EU prepared to force Apple Pay to open NFC access?

The new laws would prevent mobile device manufacturers from limiting access to NFC embedded in smartphones and other devices such as smartwatches.

While the report did not mention Apple by name, at present iPhone and Apple Watch users can only make NFC payments using Apple Pay. Banks and other competitors have complained they want access to the same functionality for their own iPhone apps and that Apple won’t give them access to the chip.

The report is set to be unveiled next week by the European Commission as part of a package of policy proposals. It includes a footnote to a competition case launched by the European Commission’s antitrust arm in June, which is seeking to assess whether the iPhone unfairly blocks other providers from using the tap-and-go functionality on its smartphones.

“In parallel with its ongoing and future competition enforcement, the Commission will examine whether it is appropriate to propose legislation aimed at securing a right of access under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions, to technical infrastructures considered necessary to support the provision of payment services,” the EU says in the document.

Since launching NFC in the iPhone in 2014, Apple has limited the chip to its own Apple Pay service. The company has previously said it restricts access as part of a system that encrypts users’ card information. Letting competing mobile payments apps access the NFC chip decoupled from Apple’s added layer of security could increase the risk of fraud and other security breaches, it has argued.

The EU in the document said any legislation would take “due account of the potential security and other risks that such access could pose,” adding it would spell out criteria determining to whom and under what conditions access rights should be granted.


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