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Apple Opens NFC Payment Tech To Rivals

Following an antitrust investigation by the European Union into its mobile payments system, Apple is set to make concessions to its competitors within the EU.

The tech major will give third-party payment platforms access to its near-field tap-and-go communication system.

This access will be granted for the next ten years, but only on devices in the 27 member countries, according to the Financial Times.

Back in 2022, the European Commission charged Apple with violating competition law, contending that Apple was preventing competitors from accessing its NFC technology to favour Apple Pay.

This latest access is believed to not require the use of Apple Pay or Apple Wallet, thereby allowing competitors to create their own contactless payment solutions

By making the latest concessions, Apple will escape any fines that it was facing regarding this issue. Those fines could have been as high as 10 per cent of the company’s global annual revenue – or nearly A$60 billion by way of Apple’s 2023 figures.

The settlement is expected to be finalised over the next few weeks, although it doesn’t seem to have steered clear of trouble in the EU altogether.

This week, European Union antitrust monitors identified several “very serious” issues with Apple’s business practices that are potentially non-compliant with the bloc’s digital business law, said the European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager.

In March itself, the European Commission began investigating potential breaches related to Apple’s new fee structure for alternative app stores under its Digital Markets Act. It was ascertaining whether Apple charges a “Core Technology Fee” for developers who want to “steer” users to offers outside of its App Store. There’s also an additional 3 per cent that goes to Apple if a developer uses its payment processor.

Apple seems to have been in violation of the EU’s rules on that subject with a formal ruling on expected over the next few weeks.

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