From the German IT new site, the German Government have extended the money laundering laws to state that payment providing platforms have to be open to all comers in the finance industry.
In this special case, it is aimed at Apple, who do not let banks and credit institutes to use their NFC API for mobile payments. This is something Google’s Android already supports.
ApplePay was released in December 2018 and it immediately got bad press, because people couldn’t use their own banks payment app and Apple only supported credit cards from 6 banks (mainly minor players) in Germany (in fact, 2 weren’t even German banks and not at all present in Germany!). There was no option to pay using a debit card/checking account with the iPhone (credit cards are still not owned/used by a majority of people in Germany).
The banks, specifically Sparkasse and Volks- und Raiffeisenbank lobbied Apple and the Government to get access to the contactless payment interface. Sparkasse is a co-op type bank and one of the largest networks in Germany, Volksbank and Raiffeisenbank is in the top 5 German banks.
The German banks have had contactless payment with debit cards for many years now and have had mobile payment apps since at least 2016 on Android. Apple iPhone users were left out in the cold by Apple, no ApplePay and the banks couldn’t use the NFC interface to support the existing NFC payment networks.
The law says that Apple (or other payment service providers) have to give access to their technology to other credit institutes.
Apple’s main claim was that it would compromise security and data privacy. The latter is complete tosh, IMHO. The German banks are held to a much higher standard than Apple, they are legally not allowed to sell or share payment data with third parties and if you use the bank’s own app, only the bank, you and the retailer know about the transaction, if you use ApplePay, Apple are also in the chain.
The other point is, financial data about Germans is, generally, not allowed to leave the country, it has to be stored in Germany and cannot be stored in the cloud, unless the company gets a special dispensation from the German Inland Revenue (Finanzamt).
The law has been passed by the government, but the Bundesrat still has to clear it, but this is expected to be a formality. Even so, Apple could still take this to court.
The question is, whether this will harm its already small market share (around 16% last time I saw any figures for Germany), or whether the principle of being the only payment service allowed to use the NFC on the iPhone is even more important to Apple than its reputation and sales in Germany…