MBW 816: Sleepin' In

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

Regarding the NFC access for payments. For me it isn’t about alternative wallets, it is about bank payment apps.

With Android, I had my local banks app (there are hundreds of banks in Germany, many in co-operatives, such as Sparkasse, Raifeisen or Volksbank). I put the app for my bank on my phone and I pay directly with that app.

I hold the phone against the terminal and Android looks to see if a payment app (or wallet) is open and uses that, if none is open, it starts up the one I chose as the standard payment app. On iPhone, I just don’t get that choice.

The banks are held to banking secrecy laws, so they can’t use my information to sell me additional products and they can’t share the information or sell it to third parties. Also, because it is financial data, it is illegal for it to leave the country of origin (payments made in other countries excepted, of course). But the bank can’t collect the data in some off-shore cloud, for example, or in Apple’s case, to some data centre in America.

Whilst I appreciate the ease of use of the Apple Pay system, it is also putting yet another middle-man into the transaction. The information goes from the shop terminal to Apple to the payment service to my bank. If I use my bank’s app, that is one less trip and one less company that gets to look at my data.

I know what rules the payment provider has to stick to (banking secrets) and my bank (ditto), but a US company in the mix? In the case of Apple, they claim to be strong on privacy, but they are still covered by the CLOUD Act, the Patriot Act, the total failure of Safe Harbor/Privacy Shield and other illegal (for European citizens’ data) US laws, which give the US TLAs access to the data without an official EU warrant (illegal for European citizens’ data). I trust Apple more than most US companies, but, at the end of the day, Apple doesn’t have as much power over their data as the FISA courts, for example.

@Leo and Alex seemed to make it all about PayPal, without actually understanding the underlying problem for EU citizens, regarding banking privacy laws and foreign companies (especially US companies, given the total lack of transparency and overreach of US TLAs and courts) handling financial transactions.


Leo seemed to go full circle on the NFC payments stuff and ended up saying you can’t change Google Pay on a Google phone. You can, that’s the point. There’s a setting for the default contactless payment service on Android, plus an option to pay with whatever payment app is currently open.

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I am fine with Apple opening up NFC if they choose to, but I don’t think that it should be legislated. Android does it which is an ever-available option for consumers if they don’t like what Apple is doing.

If there were no rules against monopoly, then there would be exactly one company, SuperMegaCo, that would run everything. Competition is good for consumers and needs legislated protection to allow room for a new entrant to be able to compete and grow.

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The problem with the monopoly argument is that it depends on how you define the market. Apple does not have a monopoly - an overwhelming majority of smartphones run Android.

I’m not simply referring to Apple. I think the rules need to exist for all markets, to prevent someone like Amazon becoming the only choice.

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Agreed. I am not against anti-monopoly legislation per se, but I don’t think that these extremely granular rules do anything to prevent monopolies. The gaming industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars and it is far more closed off than iOS or Android. That doesn’t seem to be a problem but access to NFC is?

I think the monopoly here is Apple Pay vs. others, not Apple NFC vs. Android NFC. If you take @big_D 's example if you want to use your banking app’s contactless payment mechanism, you cannot have an iPhone (or are forced not to use the app, but Apple Pay instead).

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Right, but you don’t have to have an iPhone. You can turn anything into a monopoly if you slice and dice the market like that. Leo Laporte has a “monopoly” on shows that that appear on TwiT.

It’s all to the same point of the advantage first party access has. Similarly with all the services Apple can give/sell to any Apple user, others have to pay Apple more for less than access. I believe this is what will ultimately give them the most legal trouble if they don’t change soon. While I can appreciate the privacy stance Apple takes, the smartphone has evolved well past being a console into a general purpose device since it’s inception. It’s time they “lower the wall and expand the garden.” I like the garden and I don’t mind the wall, I just want it tended to (crap/copy/scam apps out) and more toys in (more default apps, etc).

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Bit confused on this quote from Apple in the press though. They suggest there are no restrictions?

From the FT…

Apple denied this, saying: “Apple Pay is only one of many options available to European consumers for making payments, and has ensured equal access to NFC while setting industry-leading standards for privacy and security.”

Yeah, I certainly don’t have a choice. My bank’s app doesn’t have access to NFC.

Anti-competitive practices are being highlighted, i.e. using an existing successful product or service to leverage take-up of another service, whilst locking out any competition. There’s no issue with Apple launching a compelling service that does well - it’s the locking competitors out bit that they’ll be challenged over IMO.

From what I can see, most of the UK banks have given up on their own contactless apps and now assume you’ll use Apple/Google/Samsung.


Keeping in mind that Apple is a US Centric company. Most services are released here first and the iPhone having as large of a market share as it does…Most US banks apps don’t support more than checking your bank balance here in the U.S.A. For instance the credit union account my wife and I share, we can view our balance or we can send money from our account to the account of another member, I.E. our mothers. However if we want to send money to say a camp friend of mine I need a third party app to do so. (Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, CashApp, & ApplePay) The demand to allow another bank to access the NFC for payment processing just isn’t there in the USA at this time. The apps that would like to take advantage o this are the ones I listed above, peer to peer payment apps. I’m not even saying I’m against them having the ability to do so, just giving an example of why it’s not a priority for Apple to do so.


Whatever ends up happening, I hope that I don’t end up having to download a number of third-party apps, one for each payment provider, each of which will probably collect and do lord knows what with my data.

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Methinks you’re arguing against innovation… which is the entire point of regulations preventing monopolies.

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I hope you’re aware that most credit card companies (i.e. banks, of a sort) are already perfectly willing to sell your transaction data to companies like Google.

Yep. That’s why I use the Apple Card most of the time.

  • Goldman Sachs, Apple Card’s issuing bank, and Mastercard, Apple Card’s global payment network, receive your Apple Card transaction information, but do not share or sell your transaction information to third parties for marketing or advertising.
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In Europe, I can use my banking app to make payments to any other bank account in the EU.

On Android, I can also use the bank’s app at any NFC terminal. On the iPhone I can only use it for online banking, including to any other account in Europe, but not for payments in shops.