Apple has offered to allow rivals access to its tap-and-go mobile payments systems in a bid to address European Union (EU) antitrust charges and potentially avoid hefty fines, as reported by three sources familiar with the matter, according to Reuters.
The EU’s competition enforcer had previously charged Apple with impeding competitors’ access to its Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, which is crucial for tap-and-go mobile payments. The allegation suggested that Apple’s actions favoured Apple Pay, which is the tech giant’s proprietary mobile wallet solution for iPhones and iPads, making it challenging for rivals to develop alternative services on Apple devices.
To address these concerns, Apple’s proposal involves granting rivals access to its tap-and-go technology, potentially paving the way for greater competition in the mobile payments space. The European Commission is expected to solicit feedback from competitors and customers in the coming month before deciding on whether to accept Apple’s offer. The timing and execution of this market test are subject to change.
Apple Pay currently boasts a vast user base, with over 2,500 banks and 250 fintechs and challenger banks in Europe utilizing the service. The NFC chip embedded in iPhones and iPads facilitates seamless tap-and-go payments.
This move comes amidst a broader legal challenge against Apple. The tech giant faces a second charge related to allegations of preventing music streaming companies, including Spotify, from informing users about alternative purchasing options outside the Apple App Store.
The European Commission is expected to decide on this matter next year, which may include fines and directives to cease such practices.
Companies that violate the EU’s antitrust rules risk being fined up to to 10% of their global annual turnover.
While Apple has yet to comment on the matter before U.S. working hours, this development signals a potential resolution to the ongoing antitrust scrutiny in the EU.