Apple Hit With EU Antitrust Charge Over Mobile Payments Restrictions

The restrictions give Apple Pay an unfair advantage, according to regulators.

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Apple faces an EU antitrust charge over its payment system.

James Martin/CNET

European Union antitrust regulators charged Apple on Monday with restricting access to the NFC chip technology it uses for mobile wallets on iOS devices. This unfairly favors its own payment platform, Apple Pay, the regulators alleged.

If Apple is found guilty of abusing its dominance, it could be subject to a fine linked to the amount it charges for the use of its mobile wallet services, The Wall Street Journal noted.

"Mobile payments play a rapidly growing role in our digital economy," EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. "It is important for the integration of European Payments markets that consumers benefit from a competitive and innovative payments landscape."

In a statement to CNET, Apple said that its payment system "is only one of many options available to European consumers for making payments" and that it has worked to ensure equal access to NFC tech while maintaining its system's security.

"We will continue to engage with the Commission to ensure European consumers have access to the payment option of their choice in a safe and secure environment," a spokesperson said via email.

Monday's charges come a year after the EU accused Apple of breaching competition law in the music streaming market through restrictive App Store rules.