Will Apple soon have to open its digital wallet, Apple Pay, to other companies as well? According to sources who spoke with the Reuters news agency, it is quite possible that this will happen, as the EU Antitrust Authority is preparing an indictment against the technology giant. This is because Apple is blocking access to its devices through its NFC chip technology from its competitors, so all Apple users must use only Apple Pay.
According to the sources involved in the matter, the move by the antitrust authority puts Apple at risk of a high fine if it does not open its cellular payment system to rivals. The iPhone maker has been targeted by EU antitrust commissioner Margareta Westger since June last year, when it launched an investigation into Apple Pay.
The news agency explained that the authority, which is in charge of enforcing competition in the European Union, is currently preparing an indictment and it is estimated that it is ready to be sent to Apple next year. This is not the first time the union has prepared such an indictment, and they are used in cases where the regulator thinks there is a violation of competition.
The European authority reportedly has three more cases against Apple, and it declined to comment. Apple also did not respond to Reuters’ request. The authority has the ability to fine companies for violating EU rules up to 10% of their global turnover, which on the basis of Apple’s revenue for 2020 may reach a fine of $ 27.4 billion.
Apple Pay is also on the radar of regulators and other authorities. For example, South Korea last month approved a bill banning operators of major app stores, including Apple, from forcing software developers to use their payment systems. In 2019, Germany approved a law requiring Apple to open its cellular payment system to rivals for a reasonable fee.
Apple Pay entered Israel in May this year and stimulated the payments market with a digital wallet, which was relatively drowsy until then. Within a month, the number of users of digital wallets jumped by about 800%, a rate that has continued to rise since then, albeit with a more moderate increase. Due to the fact that Apple users in Israel, who make up less than 30% of all smartphone holders, are required to use Apple Pay and can not use one of the other seven digital wallets operating in the country, credit card operators in Israel, even those with their own digital wallet, have to align with Apple Use their credit card within Apple Pay.