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Apple to face EU antitrust charge over its NFC chip enabled payment system - Reuters

PUBLISHED ON 2021-10-06 22:20:00 EST Arghyadeep


Key Points

• EU watchdog is reportedly preparing a statement of objections to reign in Apple Pay

• Apple was under scrutiny since June last year for using proprietary technology to refuse the rivals access to the payment system

• The move can force Apple to open its payment system to rivals and risks possible fines

The European Union antitrust agency is preparing to hit Apple Inc over its NFC chip technology, Reuters reported citing people familiar with the matter.

The company was under scrutiny since June last year when the agency chief Margrethe Vestager launched an investigation into Apple Pay.

The primary concerns were merchants were bounded by the iPhone maker’s terms and conditions on how its mobile payment service should be used and the company’s refusal to allow rivals access to the payment system.

The European Commission has since narrowed its focus to just the near-field communication (NFC) chip, which can only be accessed by Apple Pay, for easy tap-and-go payments from iPhones, one source told Reuters.

The agency is now preparing a charge sheet known as a statement of objections, which could be sent to Apple next year, the report mentioned.

However, the company has cited privacy and safety issues in its Apple Pay policy.

Concerns around Apple Pay

The EU competition enforcer already has three other cases against Apple. The move can force Apple to open its mobile payment system to rivals, and the agency can fine companies up to 10% of their global turnover for violating EU rules, which, based on Apple’s 2020 revenue, could come to $27.4 billion.

Apple’s shares were down about 2% at $138.37 in the morning.

NFC payments, which enables contactless payments that use the technology to exchange data between smartphones and payment devices, have grown in popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. iPhone’s broad reach and superior consumer experience give Apple Pay a competitive edge over rivals.

Apple Pay is in the crosshairs of other regulators and authorities.

In 2019, Germany passed a law requiring Apple to open its mobile payments system to rivals for a reasonable fee.

Last month, South Korea approved a bill banning major app store operators, including Apple, from forcing software developers to use their payment systems.

Picture Credit: Apple Insider

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