The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) launched an investigation into competition in smartphone-based contactless payments, examining whether limitations on access to NFC functionality on some devices violates domestic laws.

In a statement, ACM noted many phones use NFC technology for contactless payments, but some devices “only allows the software developer’s own payment app” to use the capability.

It plans to investigate whether this breaks competition laws by hindering innovation and reducing user choice in payment apps.

If breaches are found, ACM said it could issue penalties including fines, though it added it would close the case if no problems are uncovered.

The regulator previously flagged the issue in a report on the Dutch payment market issued on 1 December, calling on major technology companies including Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Ant Group to “maintain a level playing field for payment services” on smartphones and smartwatches.

In June, the European Commission opened an investigation into allegations Apple restricted access to NFC on iPhones and refused competitors access to its Apple Pay service.