Dutch antitrust probe targets contactless payments such as Apple Pay

According to AppleInsider, the Dutch Consumer and Market Authority (ACM) recently announced an investigation into contactless platforms on smartphones and access to NFC functionality for payment apps.

According to ACM, the software on some smartphones “allows only developers to connect their own payment applications to NFC communication,” preventing third-party payment applications from using NFC capabilities. Based on NFC technology, users can complete contactless payment by placing their smartphone near the sensing area of the payment device.

Although Apple has not been named directly in the investigation. On the iPhone, however, Apple Pay is the only payment method that uses NFC. Apple does not allow other financial applications to use NFC, which has led to disputes with certain banks and financial institutions, making the investigation more targeted.

Banks and competitive financial firms around the world have complained that Apple is restricting access and forcing users to use only Apple Pay-compatible services.

The Dutch authorities “will investigate whether restricting access to NFC communications restricts users’ freedom of choice,” Bloomberg reported. If it “detects the infringement, it can lead to penalties such as fines.”

The Dutch Consumer and Market Authority said restricting NFC on smartphones “could stifle innovation in payment applications” and reduce freedom of choice for consumers and businesses.

As usual, Apple responded to the criticism by reminding investigators and consumers that Apple Pay restricts access to NFC systems because of security concerns. Apple works with banks, fintech companies and companies on a daily basis to provide the best payment service to its customers, according to Apple.

The investigation comes as Apple faces increasing scrutiny at home and abroad for anti-competitive practices. In October, the House Judiciary Subcommittee accused Apple of monopolizing the distribution of apps on iOS devices through its App Store.

Earlier, the European Commission recently launched an antitrust investigation into Apple Pay to determine whether the company is using terms and conditions and other measures to exclude competitors.

Meanwhile, in October, France and the Netherlands called on the European Union to create a new body to oversee large technology companies such as Google and Facebook to prevent them from monopolizing the market. The move comes as the European commission has taken an increasingly tough line against big us technology companies, with Google and Facebook among others facing antitrust investigations and hefty fines.