EU Commission seeks feedback on Apple offer to open up tap-and-go tech to rivals

Brussels: The European Commission is seeking feedback from rivals and customers on concessions Apple (AAPL.O), opens new tab offered to settle EU antitrust charges and stave off a possible hefty fine, it said on Friday.

The bloc’s regulator had charged Apple with restricting access to its tap-and-go mobile payment systems, based on the independent technology called Near-Field Communication (NFC), as it made it difficult for rivals to develop alterative payment options for iOS-based devices and compete with Apple Pay and Wallet apps.

To address that, Apple committed to open up these systems to third-party developers for their own apps, which would work independently from the Apple ones.

“We have offered commitments to provide third-party developers in the European Economic Area with an option that will enable their users to make NFC contactless payments from within their iOS apps, separate from Apple Pay and Apple Wallet,” Apple said in an emailed statement.

The access is offered to developers of payments, banking, and digital wallet apps in the European Economic Area (EEA) as another option, on top of Apple Pay, the iPhone maker said.

This would enable consumers to select whether they want to pay with Apple’s own service or another NFC-enabled application through their bank or card issuer, Apple added.

The Commission specified that the use of these apps for payments in stores outside the EEA would be possible.

“If Apple keeps their promise, this is a real game changer for mobile wallets,” Nordic wallet company Vipps MobilePay, one of the complainants in the case, said in a statement.

“We are super optimistic and positive to Apple’s proposed commitments, but we will save the real celebration to when we see Apple fulfilling the commitments without hindrances and extra costs for developers,” Vipps MobilePay chief executive Rune Garborg said.

Commitments also include additional features and functions, such as defaulting to preferred payment apps or access to authentication features such as FaceID.

Rivals and customers have one month from the publication of the summary to come back with feedback.

Once approved, the implementation of these commitments will be monitored by a trustee, who will report to the Commission.