Apple is facing an antitrust suit in the European Union. The EU competition authorities have set their sights on the NFC chip technology of Apple’s mobile payment system Apple Pay. If convicted, the iPhone company faces a hefty fine.

The practices of large tech companies such as Apple and Facebook are popular targets for EU competition regulators. Once again, Apple is now the focus of the investigations, as Reuters reports.

The reason is the settings of the mobile payment system Apple Pay. The NFC chip technology used here could now land the company in an EU antitrust suit, as insiders confirmed to Reuters.

The Apple Pay investigation

Back in June 2020, EU competition watchdog Margrethe Vestager targeted Apple and its mobile payment system. The investigations are now expected to culminate in an EU antitrust action.

Initially, several issues surfaced in the investigations. For example, in addition to NFC technology, the EU competition authority also investigated Apple Pay’s terms of use and the exclusion of competing payment systems.

Is Apple now facing an expensive fine?

In the meantime, the competition authorities have shifted the focus of their investigations to NFC chip technology. The EU competition authorities are currently preparing a statement of objections. This is to be submitted to Apple next year, i.e. in 2022.

A conviction could cost the company dearly. The EU competition authority can impose fines of up to ten percent of a company’s global sales. In the case of Apple, this figure amounted to 27.4 billion US dollars in 2020.

In addition, the EU could force Apple to open its mobile payment system to other operators.

The history of Apple Pay

Back in 2014, Apple launched its mobile payment system in the US. In Germany, however, the service only launched in December 2018.

In 2020, around twelve percent of consumers in Germany used mobile payment systems via smartphone or wearable. Around 41 percent of them used Apple Pay. In the previous year, this figure was eight percent lower – an effect that was reinforced by the Corona pandemic, among other things.

According to forecasts, the transaction volume for mobile payment will be around EUR 16.7 billion in 2021. By 2025, this figure is expected to rise to just under 50 billion.