Reuters: EC agrees with Apple’s proposal to open up NFC on iPhones

The European Commission will soon agree to Apple’s proposal to make the NFC chip in iPhones available for third-party payment services in the EU. Reuters writes this based on conversations with insiders.

The European Commission will announce next month at the earliest that it agrees with Apple’s proposal, thus Reuters. The news agency writes that the tech giant must first refine some of its conditions based on feedback from customers and competitors, although this is not discussed further.

By opening up the NFC chip, it becomes possible to make contactless payments with iPhones via third-party payment services. Currently, the chip can only be used to make payments via Apple Pay, but after the introduction of Apple’s proposal, users can also use their bank’s app for contactless payments, for example. Payments via third-party payment services can only be made at stores within the European Economic Area.

This would put an end to the EC’s antitrust investigation into Apple’s possible abuse of power by restricting NFC. The Commission states that limiting the chip disrupts competition with mobile payment services and limits innovation in the use of the phone as a wallet. Fines in such cases can amount to 10 percent of a company’s annual turnover. On Android phones, the NFC chip can be used for payment services other than those of Google.

Apple announced its plan to open up NFC in the EU in January. The EC did not initially approve the proposal, because it first wanted to collect feedback from customers and competitors, among others. If the EC agrees, Apple’s commitments will remain in effect for ten years.