The European Union is weighing legislation that could force Apple to open the iPhone NFC chip to competitors. The potential rules would grant other payment services a right of access to infrastructure such as near-field communication technology embedded in smartphones, the European Commission said Thursday.
While the EU didn’t explicitly name Apple, it said the “most commonly reported issue” related to mobile device manufacturers restricting third-party access to NFC chips. The components handle wireless signals that allow users to pay via their smartphones or watches at store terminals.
At present, iPhone and Apple Watch users can only make NFC payments using Apple Pay. Banks and other competitors have said they want the same functionality for their own iPhone apps but that Apple refuses access to the chip.
“We believe legislation that dictates a company’s technical approach to hardware and software security will ultimately put customers at risk and stifle innovation,” an Apple spokesman said. “We plan to work with the European Commission to help them understand the benefits of Apple Pay.”
Apple has previously said it restricts access to the NFC chip for security reasons. It said granting rival mobile payment apps access to the chip, decoupled from Apple’s added layer of security, could increase the risk of fraud and other security breaches.
MacDailyNews Take: The EU should not attempt to force Apple to open full access to iPhone’s NFC chip. Protecting iOS users’ security and privacy is paramount.