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Apple offer to open up NFC payments access set for EU approval - Reuters

Apple offer to open up NFC payments access set for EU approval - Reuters

EC antitrust regulators are set to approve an offer from Apple to open up the NFC chip technology that enables iPhone users to make contactless payments to third-party providers, according to Reuters.

An agreement could come as early as May, resolving an antitrust case brought in 2022 and ensuring that Apple avoids a fine that could run into the billions of dollars.

In January, the US tech giant offered to allow third-party mobile wallet and payment service providers to access and interoperate the NFC functionality on iOS devices through a set of APIs free of charge, without having to use Apple Pay or Apple Wallet.

Apple would create the necessary APIs to allow equivalent access to the NFC components in the Host Card Emulation mode, a technology issued to securely store payment credentials and complete transactions, without relying on an in-device secure element.

The agreement, which would run for 10 years, would cover all third-party mobile wallet app developers established in the European Economic Area and all iOS users with an Apple ID registered in the EEA. In addition, Apple would not prevent the use of these apps for payments in stores outside of the EEA.

Apple is also promising to allow the defaulting of preferred payment apps, access to authentication features such as FaceID, and a suppression mechanism.

Following feedback from competitors and customers, the EC asked Apple to tweak some terms, paving the way for the offer to be accepted this summer, says Reuters, citing sources.

While a deal in Europe may be near, Apple also faces issues in the US, where the Justice Department has included access to the NFC chip technology as part of its wide-ranging lawsuit accusing the firm of monopolising the smartphone market.

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