Apple has long treated its own tap-and-go Apple Pay platform like a prized fruit tree in a verdant garden, where only they could dictate who gets to nibble on its succulent delights. Now, a new suit from a veteran anti-big tech company is looking to take a rather voracious bite out of Apple over its stingy attitude towards people paying when using its mobile devices.
A new class action accuses Apple of being anti-competitive by forcing Apple Pay to swallow iPhone and Apple Watch users, while allegedly taking “$1 billion” in fees collected from card issuers. The antitrust lawsuit claims these funds are from 2019 and revenue is expected to “quadruple” by next year.
The document further alleges that issuers are not allowed to charge additional fees for Apple Pay transactions, meaning that the additional fees are consumed by issuers. The lawsuit says it seeks to reimburse card issuers for paying Apple’s fees, and also to end Apple’s restrictive policies.
The lawsuit was filed in Northern California District Court on Monday on behalf of the Iowa-based Affinity Credit Union, which claimed it was required to pay Apple’s “super-competitive” transaction fees. on Apple Pay transactions through their own payment cards. Apple would charge for credit transactions (15 points or 0.15%) and debit transactions (0.5 cents) although it essentially provides the same service for both. On the other hand, Android tap and pay services do not charge any fees from card issuers.
In a Release issued by Hagens Berman – one of the companies representing Affinity – Managing Partner Steve Berman said that while Apple Pay is “essentially identical” to Google Pay and Samsung Pay (now Samsung Wallet), “the same service on Android that card issuers pay absolutely nothing for is collectively costing them $1 billion a year through Apple Pay.” This is compared to Android devices, where there are several apps that offer contactless payments.
Apple did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
This isn’t the first time someone has made noise about Apple’s restrictive salary policies. European Union officials have also complained about the restrictive use of its near field communication, or NFC technology. Apple said it is restricting access to its NFC chip for payments due to security reasons. It compares itself to Google by presenting Android’s software as “Less secure” as its own integration between its iOS and its proprietary hardware. Of course, Google has denied that its systems are less secure than its competitors.
Moreover, the tech giant is still reeling from the To fall of Epic Games lawsuit against Apple’s so-called “walled gardens” on its app store. A judge ruled last year that the company must allow competing payment platforms to exist on Apple devices. Apple then tried to block the policy change, but a judge forced the company to figure out how it would make its app store more open to competing payment methods.
The new antitrust lawsuit further states that mobile wallet transactions have increased significantly since 2015 to over $1.2 trillion in the United States, and Apple Pay accounted for 92% of these mobile wallet debit transactions in 2020.
Lawyers are also touting their own success against big tech, obviously trying to get more people into the class action. The same company was involved in a lawsuit alleged ebook price fixing and another class action lawsuit against Apple where app developers alleged the company was restricting payment options for apps.