Apple will now allow EU rivals to access its iPhone’s NFC

The European Union has formally adopted Apple’s response to antitrust concerns about Apple Pay, and iPhones will now allow rival companies to use the technology.

Apple shares its NFC APIs with EU competitors

The EU has threatened Apple with fines of up to $40 billion for reserving iPhone NFC technology exclusively for its Apple Pay. Apple has agreed to share it with EU rivals, but it took regulators several months to approve the details.

The EU says that time has been spent testing Apple’s commitments and consulting with rivals. After some adjustments, the EU has accepted Apple’s commitments and makes them legally binding for the next ten years.

“Apple has committed to giving rivals access to the tap-and-go technology of iPhones,” antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. “Today’s decision makes Apple’s commitments binding. It opens up competition in this key sector by preventing Apple from excluding other mobile wallets from the iPhone ecosystem.”

A visual breakdown of the EU changes, showing what they mean for customers

“From now on, competitors will be able to effectively compete with Apple Pay for mobile payments with iPhone in stores,” she mused. “So consumers will have a wider choice of secure and innovative mobile wallets to choose from.”

Overall, Apple’s revised commitments to the EU include:

  • Support for Host Card Emulation (HCE) payment credentials stored online rather than on the phone
  • Elimination of the requirement for developers to have a Payment Service Provider license
  • Allowing developers to prompt users to change their default payment app
  • Shorten the time it takes to resolve disputes

In short, iPhone users in the EU will be able to replace Apple Pay and Apple Wallet with third-party offerings. In May 2024, London-based digital wallet company Curve said it was just waiting for the EU to sort out the final technical details before launching its alternative payment system on iPhones across Europe.