The European Commission has opened an antitrust investigation into Apple's terms and conditions and its steadfast refusal to open up its NFC functionality on iOS devices to proprietary bank payment apps.
The formal proceedings follow a preliminary investigation which weighed concerns that Apple Pay's terms and conditions may distort competition and reduce choice and innovation.
Apple Pay is the only mobile payment service that may access the NFC 'tap and go' technology embedded on iOS mobile devices for payments in stores. a process that has been damned by banks in a number of jurisdictions for preventing competition from their own proprietary apps.
Commission EVP Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, says: "Mobile payment solutions are rapidly gaining acceptance among users of mobile devices, facilitating payments both online and in physical stores. This growth is accelerated by the coronavirus crisis, with increasing online payments and contactless payments in stores.
"It appears that Apple sets the conditions on how Apple Pay should be used in merchants' apps and websites. It also reserves the 'tap and go' functionality of iPhones to Apple Pay.
"It is important that Apple's measures do not deny consumers the benefits of new payment technologies, including better choice, quality, innovation and competitive prices. I have therefore decided to take a close look at Apple's practices regarding Apple Pay and their impact on competition."
If proven, the practices under investigation may breach EU competition rules on anticompetitive agreements between companies and/or on the abuse of a dominant position.