The European Commission announces the launch of a formal investigation into Apple Pay to determine whether Apple is complying with the competition rules. The survey covers three elements: the conditions imposed by Apple for the integration of Apple Pay in apps and websites on iPhone / iPad; limiting the use of iPhone NFC for mobile payments; and alleged denials of access to Apple Pay.
It is still Margrethe Vestager, the bane of Apple, who oversees the investigation. In the press release, the executive vice-president in charge of competition policy observes that mobile payment is growing rapidly, all the more so at this time with the coronavirus crisis which encourages us to favor this contactless payment method.
“It appears that Apple sets the conditions for the use of Apple Pay in applications and on merchant websites. It also reserves the “tap and go” functionality of iPhones to Apple Pay, says Margrethe Vestager. It is important that the measures taken by Apple do not deprive consumers of the advantages offered by new payment technologies, particularly in terms of choice, quality, innovation and competitive prices. “
It was after a preliminary investigation, during which it surveyed the main players in the payment world, that the European Commission decided to open an in-depth investigation. The Commission is concerned that Apple’s practices “Can distort competition and reduce choice and innovation. “
Unlike Android where banks can launch their own mobile payment service (in France, several have joined forces to create Paylib), Apple Pay is the obligatory point of passage to take advantage of NFC from the iPhone. A situation that very displeases banks, since Apple takes a commission on each transaction (according to our information, 0.05% to 0.10% approximately depending on the types of cards and banks) as well as on each bank card activated in Wallet.
Apple has already had problems with the authorities of several countries regarding the practices of Apple Pay. In Switzerland, Apple had to prevent Apple Pay from interfering with the QR code payment service launched by banks. In Germany, a law passed at the end of last year obliges Apple to open the NFC chip of the iPhone, but the banks turned around by finally adopting Apple Pay.
Update at 4:35 p.m .: Unsurprisingly, Apple does not appreciate the opening of the Commission’s investigation. “It is disappointing that the European Commission relies on baseless complaints from a handful of companies wanting to take advantage of the system for free, not following the same rules as everyone else”, the company said in a statement to Reuters. “We don’t think it’s fair. We want to maintain a level playing field where anyone with determination and a good idea can succeed. “