US payment card issuers sue Apple over NFC chip access and service fees

Legal action against Apple accuses the tech giant of intentionally monopolizing the billion-dollar mobile wallet market on iOS platforms

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Source: depositphotos.com

US law firm Hagens Berman has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple. It alleges that the leading tech provider violates federal antitrust law. Namely, by hindering mobile wallets other than Apple Pay to use the NFC chip in iPhone and Apple Watch, Apple stifles mobile wallet innovation and forces payment card issuers to pay supra-competitive fees. 

The lawsuit also claims that linking two of Apple’s products — mobile devices and its proprietary wallet – without the right to choose is an illegal monopoly. Therefore, the $1bn that Apple collects annually in fees from card issuers is also in violation of federal antitrust law. Hagens Berman’s lawsuit aims to reimburse payment card issuers who have been charged unjust Apple Pay fees and put an end to Apple’s uncompetitive policies. 

The firm has previously filed two antitrust lawsuits against Apple and won the cases. In 2015, there was a combined $560 million settlement against Apple and publishing companies regarding the price-fixing of e-books. Besides, in 2022, Hagens Berman achieved a $100 million settlement on behalf of iOS developers who were harmed by Apple’s stifling App Store policies. 

The latest lawsuit comes after the European Parliament has adopted the Digital Market Act. This law will obligate Apple, Google and other “gateway” technology companies to allow app developers and third-party service providers access to device functionalities, including NFC technology.

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