If you have an iPhone, you likely have come across Apple Pay at some point. The tap-and-go technology lets you store a digital version of your credit or debit card (and other tickets, passes, etc) and, instead of having the physical card on you, digitally pay for things with your iPhone.
It’s really convenient. You just tap your iPhone to a reader and you’re off. However, the technology powering this interaction — the NFC (Near Field Communication) chip inside of the iPhone — has been locked down and made exclusive to Apple Pay, Apple’s own tap-and-go system.
That could change, though. The company has been locked in a court battle with the European Commission in an antitrust trial that claims Apple has a monopoly over tap-and-go mobile payments on the iPhone. As reported by Reuters, the company has now offered to open up NFC payments on the iPhone to competitors in an effort to settle the case.
Apple has offered to let rivals access its tap-and-go mobile payments systems used for mobile wallets, three people familiar with the matter said, a move that could settle EU antitrust charges and stave off a possible hefty fine.
The European Commission is likely to seek feedback next month from rivals and customers before deciding whether to accept Apple’s offer, the people said. They said the timing of the market test and whether it will go ahead could still change.
The outlet says that the European Commission declined to comment on the report and that Apple was not available for comment due to the timing of the report.
This would be a major shift for the iPhone — at least in the European Union. Apple Pay has been the only way to store and use tap-and-go payments on the device since the company originally launched the technology back in 2014. Since then, Google and Samsung have launched similar experiences with Samsung Pay and Google Pay.
This change could potentially bring something like Samsung Pay or Google Pay to the iPhone and allow iPhone users to use those tap-and-go payment services over Apple Pay. Personally, I trust Apple more than I trust Google or Samsung with my debit and credit card information, so I’ll likely be sticking with Apple Pay even if the other two are offered on my iPhone down the road.
That said, it’s good to see competition in this space potentially opening up. Users should always be able to have a choice, so hopefully this will happen in the EU and eventually expand worldwide. We’ll have to wait and see if the European Commission accepts Apple’s offer.
Of course, Apple’s own payment options will still remain exclusive to Apple Pay like the Apple Cash debit card as well as Apple Card, the company’s self-branded credit card that it offers in partnership with Goldman Sachs. Speaking of which, it seems that Apple and Goldman Sachs are planning to end that partnership early, so the future of Apple Card is a little vague right now.
Whatever happens, Apple’s future in the banking business seems like it’s going to evolve in a lot of ways — whether they choose to do something or a change is forced upon them.