EU approves Apple’s plan to open up mobile wallet access

Onwubuke Melvin
Onwubuke Melvin

The EU antitrust investigators recognized Apple’s pledge to offer rivals access to its tap-and-go payments system, after a four-year probe.

The commission stated it has agreed to acknowledge Apple’s offer since the commitment has resolved its concerns.

This was disclosed by the EU antitrust Chief, Margrethe Vestager at a press conference on Thursday, according to CNBC.

Vestager said “The commission has decided to accept commitments offered by Apple. These commitments address our preliminary concerns that Apple may illegally have restricted competition when it comes to mobile wallets on iPhones.”

The EU initiated a formal probe against Apple Pay in 2020. The investigation focused on the terms and conditions Apple establishes for integrating Apple Pay into apps and websites, as well as concerns about tap-and-go technology and claimed refusals to access Apple Pay.

In 2022, the European Commission determined that Apple Pay, as the only option for iPhone users, could limit competition.

Apple has now made multiple undertakings to address the issues, including an offer in January to give competitors access to its contactless payment and mobile wallet technologies.

Vestager explained that Apple has committed to allowing third-party developers to utilize NFC technology without charging them, giving competing payment wallets access to key iPhone features like Face ID, and allowing customers to designate any wallet of their choice as the default option.

Earlier this year, the European Commission put Apple’s commitment to collect feedback on the plans to the test.

Following its review, the commission decided that Apple’s final promises meet concerns about the tech giant’s constraints on granting third-party access to its tap-and-go payments system. The adjustments are now legally binding on Apple.

“The commitments bring important changes to how Apple operates in Europe to the benefit of competitors and customers,” Vestager said.

“From now on, Apple can no longer use its control over the iPhone ecosystem to keep other mobile wallets out of the market. Competing wallet developers, as well as consumers, will benefit from these changes, opening up innovation and choice, while keeping payments secure,” she added.

According to Vestager, the iPhone maker has until July 25 to implement the agreement. All developers will subsequently be able to provide mobile wallets for iPhones using the tap-and-go technology, she said. The commitments will be in effect for ten years.

“Apple is providing developers in the European Economic Area with an option to enable NFC contactless payments and contactless transactions for car keys, closed-loop transit, corporate badges, home keys, hotel keys, merchant loyalty/rewards, and event tickets from within their iOS apps using Host Card Emulation based APIs,” Apple said in emailed comments.

In addition, it stated that Apple Pay and Apple Wallet would remain unchanged as a result of the investigation.

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