Apple Pay targeted in Dutch antitrust probe

Apple faces scrutiny from Dutch antitrust regulators who are probing whether Apple Pay users get a free choice of financial apps with contactless payments.

Apple Pay is easy and works with the Apple devices you use every day. You can make secure purchases in stores, in apps, and on the web. And you can send and receive money from friends and family right in Messages. Apple Pay is even simpler than using your physical card, and safer too.
Apple Pay

Aoife White for Bloomberg:

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets said on Friday it started an investigation into payment apps’ access to near-field communication, which allows people to wave their phones at payment terminals to make purchases.

While the regulator didn’t name Apple, it cited concerns that “the software on some smartphones only allows the software developer’s own payment app to connect to NFC communication.”

At present, iPhone and Apple Watch users can only make NFC payments using Apple Pay. Banks and other competitors have complained that they want the same functionality for their own iPhone apps but that Apple refuses access to the chip.

The Dutch authority “will investigate whether limiting the payment apps’ access to NFC communication reduces the users’ freedom of choice,” it said. If it “does establish a violation, it may result in a penalty, such as a fine.”

MacDailyNews Take: Making the NFC chip in Apple devices insecure doesn’t increase competition. There are not antitrust issues. Apple competes with contactless payments every day, everywhere Apple Pay is available.


  1. EU consumers can use ‘tap to pay’ credit cards. It is absurd to treat Apple’s restriction to its NFC chip based on security concerns, as some sort of anti trust, when there are equally convenient alternatives. Access to the NFC chip would decrease the one main advantage of Apple Pay, which is security.

    1. Read access to NFC would not affect any part of Apple Pay’s backend transaction functions which is where Apple Pay is secure. Just as you can’t use the camera/mic on PCs for more than one tab/application at a time the NFC sensor reading functions on iPhones can be made with the same limitation.

  2. As long as Apple is not blocking Banks and other Creditors from being added to Wallet\Apple Pay then there is no anti trust, Apple through Apple Pay does give access just not directly.

  3. The crux of these types of probes will probably depend on how well Apple can defend the difference between access to the ‘Read’ function of the NFC sensor from the access availability for other device HW resources like accelerometers, microphones and cameras to non-Apple Apps.

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