Three US credit unions have filed a class action lawsuit against Apple, accusing the company of overcharging Apple Pay and preventing access to Apple’s payment system from other digital wallets. The plaintiffs believe Apple’s payment system policies violate the Sherman Antitrust Act. Apple’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit was only partially granted by the court.
A Northern California court agreed with the credit unions’ argument that Apple Pay has a de facto monopoly thanks to its exclusive access to an NFC reader because QR code payment apps lack the convenience and functionality of Apple Pay and the Transition to Android is also missing expensive. Lawyers representing credit unions also said Apple Pay “illegally tied up” for Apple phones, tablets and watches.
The court recognized the validity of Apple’s arguments that its payment system is free and that the company does not force users to use it, but refused to dismiss the lawsuit on these grounds “The claim that Apple has a monopoly is plausible” and the company charges fees “arbitrary and excessive commissions” for payment processing.
The court found that a monopoly in the digital payments market harms consumers and blocking access to NFC for third-party applications is anti-competitive. The court accepted the motion for review and scheduled a hearing for December 1, 2023.