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First alternative to Apple Wallet is ready to launch in EU

Apple could have to make additional changes to its NFC APIs

The UK firm Curve claims it will be the first complete Apple Wallet alternative once Apple fully complies with the EU's requirement to allow rivals use of its iPhone NFC technology.

Alongside the law changes that meant Apple had to allow rival iPhone App Stores in the EU, the region's Digital Markets Act also saw the company forced to support rival contactless payment systems. Apple is in the process or adding APIs to allow rivals to utilize NFC in their banking and wallet apps.

According to The Times, Apple is still finalizing technical details. Once that's done, UK-based firm Curve says it will be able to immediately launch its rival Wallet.

While operating out of London, Curve's digital wallet will only be available to its customers in Europe.

"The newly competitive market for digital wallets is about to experience genuine customer-first innovation," Curve founder Shachar Bialick said. A Curve spokesperson also claimed that switching to its service will save banks "millions of euros" that currently go to Apple.

Users will be able to completely replace Apple Wallet. That extends even to how double-pressing the iPhone's side button will bring up Curve instead of Apple's system.

While Curve claims it will be the first to launch its Apple Wallet alternative, reportedly other firms are working to launch. They include the Nordic firm Vipps MobilePay.

Curve is not especially well known in the UK, but it reportedly does have over four million customers. Currently it acts as an aggregator for bank and loyalty cards, and claims that users spent approximately $4 billion through the platform in 2022.

Separately, the European Central Bank has complained to the European Commission about Apple's support for rivals to use NFC. It says that Apple is still denying rivals use of its Secure Element of its NFC technology, which means alternatives to Apple Pay will be slower and more cumbersome for users.