EU Approves Apple’s Proposal to Open NFC to Competitors

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) proposed solution to open up its tap-and-go mobile payments system to competitors is on track to receive approval from EU antitrust regulators next month, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The tech giant’s move to settle the long-standing investigation into its Apple Pay mobile wallet aims to avoid potential penalties, including a hefty fine that could reach up to 10% of its global annual turnover.

Apple’s near-field communication technology enables contactless payments through mobile wallets, and the European Commission previously accused the company of anti-competitive behavior by restricting access to this technology for rival mobile wallet app developers.

In January, Apple offered to grant competitors access to its NFC technology on iPhones, iPads, and other devices without requiring the use of Apple Pay or Apple Wallet. The access would be provided free of charge and based on fair and non-discriminatory criteria.

To address concerns and feedback from rivals and customers, Apple made adjustments to its proposal, including offering additional functionalities such as default payment app settings, access to authentication features like FaceID, and a dispute settlement mechanism. The proposed access to NFC technology would be valid for 10 years.

The European Commission aims to finalize the approval process by summer, with May being the expected timeframe, pending final technical details from Apple.

This move comes after Apple faced a 1.84 billion-euro ($2 billion) fine last month for alleged antitrust violations related to its App Store’s treatment of music streaming competitors like Spotify.