Apple's being forced to add Google Pay to iPhones in the EU — but no one should downgrade their mobile wallet, believe me I've tried

Apple Pay on Wallet
(Image credit: Future)

In the midst of Apple’s attempts to meet the EU’s antitrust regulations, a new report from Reuters hints that the company will “open its tap-and-go mobile payments system to rivals” as soon as next month. Making these changes would protect the company from receiving a huge fine of “as much as 10% of its global annual turnover.”

This news got me thinking about the prospects of competitors to Apple Pay coming to the iPhone. After using Google Pay for a fortnight as an experiment in 2023, I have to ask why anyone in the EU would even bother switching.

Downgrading to Google Pay

For a bit of context, I love digital wallets and have done for at least five years. I don’t carry a physical wallet or any cards anymore and rely solely on Apple Pay on my iPhone 15 Pro Max to pay for everything in stores and online. Apple Pay is my trusty companion whenever I leave the house and it never lets me down, allowing me to lighten my pockets by removing the need for a wallet altogether.

Last August, I tried to convert to Android for a week or so in order to get insight into what another mobile platform felt like in comparison to my trusty iPhone. After coming to terms with the operating system, one of the biggest issues I found was converting to Google Pay, and its limited functionality left me scratching my head. 

In my original article, I said, “Someone should explain to me why you can’t easily change between payment cards on Android like you can on iOS — I was under the impression that Android was supposed to give me more options.” and that sentiment remains true to this day where unlike Apple Pay on iOS 17 you can only pay with a default card without unlocking your smartphone and opening the Google Pay app.

That restriction alone makes Google Pay infinitely worse than Apple’s offering and makes me question why the EU is making such a big effort to enforce choice when any iPhone owner shouldn’t have to think twice about how to pay with a virtual card anyway. It feels counterproductive to give users the option of using a worse platform just for the sake of allowing choice. Apple Pay is one of Apple’s best products and until other virtual wallets catch up it feels totally unnecessary to enforce an option.

Due to Apple’s compliance with the EU’s requests, iPhone owners within the region are likely to get a choice of what mobile payment platform to use on their best iPhones. Similar to the way it works for web browsers now, you’d expect users to get a choice between wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, among others via a splash screen. But I’ll say this, after my experience with Google Pay, I don’t see why any iPhone user should opt to use anything other than Apple Pay — it’s by far the most reliable, most widely accepted, and efficient way to pay with your smartphone. So thanks for the offer EU, but I’ll stick with Apple Pay for now.

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John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself. Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings. John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.  John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit.