Apple opens up NFC access - but not in Switzerland
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Apple opens up NFC access - but not in Switzerland

Translation: machine translated

In Europe, alternative digital wallets have access to the iPhone's NFC chip - including Double Tap and Face ID. Switzerland, however, is left out in the cold.

The iPhone's NFC chip will soon no longer be reserved for Apple Wallet. Apple is introducing a free interface for third-party providers in the European Economic Area (EEA). This was announced by the EU on Thursday in a press release. NFC (Near Field Communication) enables, among other things, simple contactless payment via smartphone.

Apple has committed to three things:

  1. Apple grants third-party providers access to the NFC chip. An interface called "Host Card Emulation Mode" will be introduced for this purpose. Access to the "Secure Enclave", Apple's isolated security chip, remains reserved for the Apple Wallet.
  2. The other wallets will also gain access to Double Tap and Face ID. In future, users will be able to pay directly via the iPhone's lock button using an alternative digital wallet.
  3. Customers can freely select the "default wallet"
    • i.e. the digital wallet that is accessed by default via Double Tap.

The assurances are valid for ten years. A trustee appointed by Apple will monitor the implementation and report to the EU Commission.

Switzerland not involved - no NFC for "federal wallet"

Switzerland is not a member of the EU and, unlike Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland, is not a member of the EEA. The new interface is therefore not available for devices registered in this country, as Apple confirmed to the Digitec Galaxus editorial team on request.

This is a setback for the planned "Bundes-Wallet", where the E-ID is to be integrated, among other things. Twint fans are also left out in the cold - paying by double tap is still not possible. Just like opening cars or door locks via NFC chip in your own apps.

If you want to pay with Twint, you will still have to open the app first.
If you want to pay with Twint, you will still have to open the app first.
Source: Martin Jungfer

EU Commission is satisfied

Apple has until 25 July. If the Californians implement the three points by then, the EU will close its investigation. The Commission opened the investigation in 2022 following the introduction of the Digital Markets Act (DMA). It came to the preliminary conclusion that Apple was gaining an unfair advantage by only releasing NFC technology for Apple Pay.

As a result, Apple developed the above-mentioned proposed solutions. After some adjustments, the EU is now satisfied: "The commitments bring important changes to the way Apple operates in Europe that will benefit both competitors and customers."

This means that Apple is bowing to DMA regulation, at least in this case. The iPhone manufacturer seems to prefer co-operation with the EU to the risk of a fine. The fine for DMA violations amounts to a maximum of ten per cent of global annual turnover. This corresponds to over 38 billion US dollars for Apple.

Other EU investigations into the iPhone manufacturer are still ongoing - for example for alleged violations of the steering rules. And it seems that Apple is only making concessions in precisely those countries where the company is forced to do so. A lawsuit is also underway in the USA, which is demanding an open NFC interface, among other things.

  • News + Trends

    The USA sues Apple

    by Samuel Buchmann

Header image: Shutterstock

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My fingerprint often changes so drastically that my MacBook doesn't recognise it anymore. The reason? If I'm not clinging to a monitor or camera, I'm probably clinging to a rockface by the tips of my fingers.

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