Rumor: Apple and EU reach agreement on NFC payments

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Apple and the European Commission are reportedly on the verge of settling a complaint over NFC payments. Under the scheme, developers can offer NFC payments in apps with their own systems.

The settlement allows Apple to avoid a large fine from the European Commission, reports Financial Times. The European Commission would announce the settlement sometime in the coming weeks, the newspaper said. The rumor of the settlement has been going around for some time.

By opening up the NFC chip, it becomes possible to make contactless payments with iPhones via third-party payment services. Currently, the chip can only be used to make payments via Apple Pay, but after the introduction of Apple's proposal, users can also use their bank's app for contactless payments, for example. Payments via third-party payment services can only be made at stores within the European Economic Area.

This would put an end to the EC's antitrust investigation into Apple's possible abuse of power by restricting NFC. The Commission states that limiting the chip disrupts competition with mobile payment services and limits innovation in the use of the phone as a wallet. Fines in such cases can amount to 10 percent of a company's annual turnover. On Android phones, the NFC chip can be used for payment services other than those of Google.

Apple announced its plan to open up NFC in the EU in January. The EC did not initially approve the proposal, because it first wanted to collect feedback from customers and competitors, among others. If the EC agrees, Apple's commitments will remain in effect for ten years.

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