The Netherlands Authority for Consumer and Markets said that it has begun an investigation into payment apps’ access to near-field communication, which lets people shake their phones to make transactions.
Although Apple hadn’t been named, it had cited its issues suggesting that “the software on some smartphones only allows the software developer’s own payment app to connect to NFC communication.
At the moment, iPhone and Apple Watch users are only capable of making NFC payments by using Apple Pay. Banks as well as rivals have an issue and wish to have the same functions for their own iPhone app but claim Apple does not allow access to the chip.
“Will investigate whether limiting the payment apps’ access to NFC communication reduces the users’ freedom of choice,” it said. If it “does establish a violation, it may result in a penalty, such as a fine,” the Dutch authority said.
Apple Pay’s terms and conditions for merchant apps and websites are separately the focus of an EU antitrust probe. The EU is also weighing legislation which might make Apple open up NFC to rivals.
Apple did not comment on the current investigation but it did say that it “designed Apple Pay as a simple and secure way for customers to use the payment card of their choice on their Apple devices.”
It said it competes every day, “working with banks, fintech and merchants to be the best payment option for business and consumers across the Netherlands.”