German Lawmakers Pass Law That Will Force Apple to Open up iPhone’s NFC for Other Payment Providers

BY Mahit Huilgol

Published 15 Nov 2019

Apple Pay has officially expanded to Kazakhstan

Apple has come under the scanner of regulatory authorities once again. Germany has passed an anti-money laundering law that directs to open up the NFC chip on iPhones for other payment providers. According to a report by Reuters, the law is set to come in effect from next year.

Apple has given a statement to Reuters and says it was “surprised” with the decision. The company also expressed security concerns.

“We are surprised at how suddenly this legislation was introduced,” an Apple spokesperson said. “We fear that the draft law could be harmful to user-friendliness, data protection and the security of financial information.”

That being said Apple might take refuge in a loophole that will allow the company to continue locking down the NFC on iPhone. This is possible if Apple puts forth an argument that opening up NFC chip to other payment services will hamper its security.

The translated excerpt below will help you understand the loophole better.

Exceptionally, the system undertaking is not required to comply with paragraph 1 if there are reasonable grounds for refusal to make the provision available. These exist, in particular, if the system undertaking can demonstrate that the safety and integrity of the technical infrastructure services is specifically jeopardised by the provision of such facilities. The rejection must be reasonably justified.

Our Take

The local bank lobby has been fighting tooth and nail with Apple over Apple Pay. It is only now that the German authorities have turned their attention to the bill that prevents Apple from locking down their NFC. The moot point is that the bill seems to be symbolic in nature and Apple will most certainly use the loophole. Earlier this year, saving banks in Germany started implementing Apple Pay for their customers.

[Reuters, Finanz-Szene]