The European Commission has requested more information on Apple’s mobile payment system as the enforcer seeks to close any loopholes and strengthen its case against the technology giant. The EU competition watchdog had previously accused Apple of restricting rivals’ access to its Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, which is used for mobile wallets, making it difficult for them to develop rival services on Apple devices. Apple has previously cited PayPal and other rivals as competition on its iOS mobile operating system. However, Norwegian mobile payment app and complainant Vipps has argued that alternatives to NFC are cumbersome and not competitive.
Unusual Request for Information
The regulator’s request for information is unusual as it comes three months after Apple defended itself at a hearing on the matter. The commission typically issues decisions after such hearings, and it can fine Apple up to 10% of its global turnover if found guilty of breaching antitrust rules. The request for information has been sent to rivals and retailers, and a commission spokesperson confirmed the move while declining to provide details. Apple declined to comment.
Apple’s Recent Financial Moves
Apple has launched a new high-yield deposit account with Goldman Sachs Group, which it says will allow Apple Card users to earn 4.15% on savings accounts. This is 10 times higher than the national average, according to March data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which showed that consumers earned an average of 0.37% on savings in bank accounts. Last month, Apple also launched a “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) service in the US called Apple Pay Later, which will allow users to split purchases into four payments spread over six weeks with no interest or fees. The move is a challenge to the fintech sector dominated by firms such as Affirm Holdings and Klarna. The service will initially be offered to select users, with plans for a full roll-out in the coming months.
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