Contactless payment: Apple accused by the EU of blocking competition with Apple Pay

The Apple brand’s Apple Pay service is in the sights of the European Commission. The latter has, in fact, accused, this Monday, May 2, the American giant Apple of blocking competition in contactless payment systems, by imposing its Apple Pay service on users of its mobile phones. The EU executive said the iPhone maker was “abusing its dominant position in mobile wallet markets” by preventing competing solutions from working on its devices, according to a statement. Brussels, which plays the role of guardian of competition in the EU, had already pinned Apple last year for anti-competitive practices in the online music market, one of the many files having opposed it to American giants of the tech.

Regarding Apple Pay, the Commission opened an investigation in June 2020. On Monday, it informed Apple in writing of the grievances against it. This is a formal step that does not prejudge the outcome of this investigation. The company now has access to the file and will be able to respond to the accusations made. “We have evidence that Apple has restricted third-party access to key technology needed to develop competing mobile wallet solutions on Apple devices…for the benefit of Apple Pay, its proprietary solution,” Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told a news conference. Apple Pay is the only mobile wallet solution to have access to the NFC (Near Field Communication) technology fitted to the iPhone or iPad to exchange the data necessary for contactless payment in stores or online, underlines the Commission.

Security concern

Brussels “challenges Apple’s decision to block developers of ‘competing’ apps from accessing necessary hardware and software on its devices. For its part, Apple justifies the access restrictions by its concern for ensuring security for its customers.”Apple Pay is just one of many options available to European consumers for making payments,” the Apple brand responded in a statement. “We will continue to work with the Commission to ensure that European consumers have access to the payment option of their choice in a safe and secure environment,” she added. No deadline has been set for the EU to continue the investigation. If Apple is found guilty, he will have to remedy his practices or face fines of up to 10% of his annual turnover.

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