EU calls for feedback on proposed settlement with Apple over NFC chip access

INCENTED PROPOSAL: Apple says it is ready to open up NFC host card emulation in the European Union

Apple has proposed to settle the European Commission’s Case AT.40452 – Mobile Payments by providing a new set of APIs that approved developers will be able to use to provide a host card emulation-based alternative to Apple Pay — free of charge. Anyone objecting to the proposals has until 18 February 2024 to share their concerns with the EU.

“To address the Commission’s competition concerns, Apple has offered the following commitments,” the European Commission says:

To allow third-party mobile wallet and payment service providers to access and interoperate through a set of Application Programming Interfaces (‘APIs’) with the NFC functionality on iOS devices 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 so-called Host Card Emulation (‘HCE’) mode, a technology issued to securely store payment credentials and complete transactions using NFC, without relying on an in-device secure element.

To apply the commitments to all third-party mobile wallet app developers established in the European Economic Area (‘EEA’) and all iOS users with an Apple ID registered in the EEA. Apple will not prevent the use of these apps for payments in stores outside the EEA.

To provide additional features and functionalities, including defaulting of preferred payment apps, access to authentication features such as FaceID and a suppression mechanism.

To apply fair, objective, transparent, and non-discriminatory eligibility criteria to grant NFC access to third-party mobile wallet app developers, who will have to conclude an ADP license agreement to have access.

To establish a dispute settlement mechanism under which Apple’s decisions denying access to NFC input will be reviewed by independent experts.

The commitments offered by Apple would remain in force for ten years. Their implementation would be monitored by a monitoring trustee, who will report regularly to the Commission.”

Subject to feedback from the market, the Commission says it “intends to adopt a decision under Article 9(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003, declaring binding the commitments.”

“In accordance with Article 27(4) of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003,” it adds, “the Commission invites interested third parties to submit their observations on the proposed commitments. These observations must reach the Commission not later than one month following the date of this publication.”

The full text of Apple’s “Proposal of Commitments to the European Commission” is available to view on the European Commission’s website. Feedback should be submitted by 18 February 2024.

EU calls for feedback on proposed settlement with Apple over NFC chip access was written by Sarah Clark and published by NFCW.