Apple’s iPhone Payments Service and Antitrust Concerns


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A promise made by tech giant Apple to open up its iPhone payments service – after a preliminary finding by the European Commission that its behavior was restrictive – doesn’t go far enough, as stated by the European Central Bank.

ECB’s Critique of Apple’s Proposed Commitments

ECB's Critique of Apple's Proposed Commitments

In January, Apple proposed to let alternative providers access the near-field communication (NFC) chip for tap-to-pay transactions on iPhones. However, the ECB highlighted that the proposal excludes ecommerce, transactions among friends, and wearables like the Apple Watch, impacting the end-user experience.

Implications for Digital Euro and Antitrust Policy

The ECB’s Piero Cipollone expressed concerns that without full access to core iPhone hardware, the user experience for digital euro payments might not be seamless and user-friendly compared to Apple Pay. EU officials are evaluating Apple’s commitments, with potential fines at stake for non-compliance.

Apple agreed to pro-competition measures in response to complaints from banks and rivals about the control exerted through its software. The EU has been scrutinizing the payments market, particularly the dominance of US credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard.

The Commission is considering issuing the digital euro to elevate digital payments to the level of cash transactions. The proposed law includes provisions for smartphone hardware standards to ensure a level playing field among payment providers.

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