Dastardly PayPal reportedly behind the EU poking around Apple's control of iPhone NFC payments

Apple Pay Coming To Partners Customer Checking Out With Apple Pay At Target
Apple Pay Coming To Partners Customer Checking Out With Apple Pay At Target (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple is the subject of a European Commission Statement of Objections surrounding its locking down of NFC technology on iPhones.
  • A new report claims that PayPal was behind the initial decision to look into Apple's payments system.
  • The European Commission believes Apple Pay has benefitted from being the only NFC-enabled payment wallet available to iPhone users.

Online payments company PayPal was reportedly behind the European Commission's (EC) decision to take a closer look at how Apple locks down NFC payments on its iPhone hardware. Apple Pay is the only payment system granted access to NFC tech on iPhones and an EC Statement of Objections has been passed to Apple.

That Statement of Objection was detailed earlier this week but a new Bloomberg report claims that it was PayPal that got things moving. Currently, PayPal isn't allowed to compete with Apple Pay due to Apple's locking down of NFC capabilities in the iPhone. The same goes for Apple Watch hardware, too.

PayPal Holdings Inc. helped spur a formal antitrust complaint against Apple Inc. and its iPhone payments system by raising concerns with the European Commission, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

In its earlier statement, the EC had claimed that Apple restricts competition for mobile wallets on iOS, allowing Apple Pay an unfair advantage.

The European Commission has informed Apple of its preliminary view that it abused its dominant position in markets for mobile wallets on iOS devices. By limiting access to a standard technology used for contactless payments with mobile devices in stores ('Near-Field Communication (NFC)' or 'tap and go'), Apple restricts competition in the mobile wallets market on iOS.

Apple Pay Express Transit Japan

Apple Pay Express Transit Japan (Image credit: Apple)

The fact that PayPal was one of the players involved in the EC's decision to get involved shouldn't be all that surprising, but it's notable. Apple continues to come under pressure from various antitrust cases around the world and companies like PayPal will be waiting in the wings to take advantage of any changes Apple makes — whether by choice or after having been forced to by international governments.

Apple Pay is undoubtedly one of the best iPhone features around, especially when coupled with Express Transit. Whether alternatives from the likes of PayPal will be offered in the future is unclear, but it doesn't seem likely to be something Apple will offer without a fight.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.