EU accepts Apple’s pledge to give rivals access to iPhone’s ‘tap to pay’ technology to resolve antitrust case

LONDON (AP) — The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm and chief antitrust enforcer, said it accepts commitments made by Apple offered earlier this year and give them legal force.

The commission had accused Apple in 2022 abusing its dominant position by limiting access to its mobile payments technology.

Apple responded by proposing in January to allow third-party mobile wallet and payment service providers to access contactless payment features on its iOS operating system. After Apple modified its proposals following testing and feedback, the commission said those “final commitments” would address its competition concerns.

“Today’s commitments conclude our investigation into Apple Pay,” Margrethe Vestager, executive vice-president for competition policy at the Commission, told a press conference in Brussels. “These commitments introduce important changes to the way Apple operates in Europe, to the benefit of competitors and customers.”

The deal promises Europeans more choice. iPhone users will be able to set a default wallet of their choice, while mobile wallet makers will be able to use important iPhone verification features such as Face ID, Vestager said.

Mobile wallets operate on the basis of near-field communication technology, or NFC, which uses an integrated circuit to wirelessly communicate with the merchant’s payment terminal.

The commission accused the company of preventing others from accessing Apple Pay, which is the largest NFC-based mobile wallet on the market.

The changes being introduced by Apple are set to last a decade, will apply to all 27 EU countries as well as Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, and will be monitored by a trustee.

Apple has until July 25 to implement the changes in the EU.

“From that date, software developers will be able to offer a mobile wallet on the iPhone with the same tap-and-go experience that has so far been reserved for Apple Pay,” Vestager said.

Apple said in a prepared statement that it is “providing developers in the European Economic Area with the ability to enable NFC contactless payments and contactless transactions” for applications such as car keys, corporate IDs, hotel keys and concert tickets.

Violations of EU competition law may result in fines This value reaches up to 10% of the company’s annual global revenue, which in the case of Apple could amount to tens of billions of euros (dollars).