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Back in April, 9to5Mac exclusively revealed that the Bancontact network has been secretly working with Apple to make its cards compatible with Apple Pay. Now Belgium’s Belfius Bank has finally confirmed that it will be the first bank to bring Bancontact card support to Apple’s payment platform later this year.
Belfius, one of Belgium’s major banks, launched Apple Pay support for its customers on Thursday. At least for now, Apple Pay only works with Belfius credit cards using the Visa and Mastercard networks. None of the cards from the Bancontact network work with Apple Pay, but that’s about to change.
In a statement to HLN, Belfius confirmed that Bancontact and Maestro debit cards will be available on Apple Pay “later this year.” For those unfamiliar, Bancontact is an interbank network from Belgium that competes with Mastercard and Visa.
It’s unclear when exactly support for these cards will arrive for customers, but anyone running iOS 15.5 or later will be ready to add their Bancontact cards to Apple Pay once it becomes available. 9to5Mac also found out that cards from Italian interbank network Bancomat will soon work with Apple Pay, but the network hasn’t said a word about it so far.
Apple Pay under investigation in Europe
Apple has been under investigation by the European Union’s antitrust commission over how the company restricts the NFC technology in the iPhone to its own payments platform.
The EU argues that Apple abuses its dominant market position and restrictions in iOS to prevent third parties from having full access to the iPhone’s NFC chip. As a result, other platforms are unable to compete with Apple Pay on iPhone. The investigation has been supported by other companies such as PayPal.
Apple this year announced “Tap to Pay” for iPhone, which turns the phone into a contactless card terminal for receiving payments via third-party apps. However, this still doesn’t let other apps provide their own NFC payment solutions on iPhone.
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