Lawsuit Accuses Apple Of Antitrust Violations Over Apple Pay.

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Apple Inc (AAPL.O) was sued in a proposed class action by payment card issuers accusing the iPhone maker; of abusing its market power in mobile devices to thwart competition for its Apple Pay mobile wallet.

According to a complaint filed in San Francisco federal court, Apple “coerces” consumers who use its smartphones, smart watches and tablets into using its own wallet for contactless payments. Unlike makers of Android-based devices that let consumers choose wallets such as Google Pay and Samsung Pay.
The plaintiff, Iowa’s Affinity Credit Union, said Apple’s anticompetitive conduct forces the more than 4,000 banks; and credit unions that use Apple Pay to pay at least $1 billion of excess fees annually for the privilege.

It also said Apple’s conduct minimizes the incentive for the Cupertino; California-based company to make Apple Pay work better and make it more resistant to security breaches.
“Apple’s conduct harms not only issuers, but also consumers and competition as a whole,” the complaint said.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified triple damages, and a halt to Apple’s alleged anticompetitive conduct.

The company already faces a possible heavy fine after European Union regulators on May 2 said it had abused its dominance in iOS devices; and mobile wallets by refusing to give payment rivals access to its technology.
According to the complaint, Apple charges issuers a 0.15% fee on credit transactions and a flat 0.5 cent fee on debit transactions; using Apple Pay, while Android-based rivals charge nothing.

The plaintiff is represented by the law firms Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and Sperling & Slater.
Last August, they helped obtain a $100 million settlement for smaller iOS developers that claimed Apple overcharged them on commissions.
The case is Affinity Credit Union v Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 22-04174.

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