After Europe, Apple is now also threatened with legal difficulties in its home country, the USA, due to the restrictions on the NFC chip for other payment providers. A credit union in the US state of Iowa is filing a class action lawsuit against the IT group in California over Apple Pay. The lawsuit is of particular value because the law firm Hagens Berman has been hired by lawyers who have successfully sued Apple several times for antitrust violations.
The allegation in Affinity Credit Union’s lawsuit, which was filed before the district court in Northern California, is a well-known one from a European perspective: Apple is accused of violating antitrust law because the group does not make the NFC interface of its devices available on an equal footing with other payment services puts. Apple is thus giving itself an advantage that alternative providers have no chance against. Apple justifies this with a higher level of security. On Android devices, on the other hand, it is possible to change payment providers, which also affects the fees.
Banks want fees back
From a banking perspective, Apple is therefore also accused of using Apple Pay to prevent the 4,000 affiliated banks and credit unions from passing on the costs incurred to customers. Instead, banks would have to pay Apple more than $1 billion annually because they didn’t have an equivalent alternative if they wanted to allow their customers to make payments on Apple devices. Apple therefore has little incentive to improve the system technically and secure it more. The bank demands compensation.
EU has already warned Apple
The sealing off of the NFC interface has also been sharply criticized by the European Union. The EU Commission accuses Apple of abusing market power. With the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA), Europe is in the process of significantly tightening the requirements for large tech companies like Apple.
The US law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and Sperling and Slater has already won an out-of-court settlement of 100 million US dollars with Apple in recent years. This was about excessive fees for small developers. Apple, meanwhile, offers a program for small developers with annual sales of less than $1 million in which they have to cede lower fees on sales. In another antitrust lawsuit the firm brought against Apple, Apple ended up paying out $400 million to e-book buyers.