Apple could have another antitrust probe on its hands soon – this time involving its payment platform Apple Pay. Back in June, the European Commission announced that it would begin opening a formal antitrust investigation into the app, and investigators in the Netherlands and Australia have subsequently raised their own concerns.
Usually, competition probes center on how tech giants use their own platforms to publicize and share their software solutions – and Apple previously has faced probes in this area. However, any future investigation into Apple Pay is likely to focus on how NFC technology is used by iPhones and Apple Watches instead.
Currently, Apple Pay is the only payments solution that is able to access the NFC technology contained in iOS devices – reportedly for security reasons. This, in effect, means that Apple Pay is the only payments solution available to consumers.
A booming market
The coronavirus has also thrown Apple Pay’s competition policies into the spotlight. The payments solution has seen a huge uptick in use since the pandemic began to spread across the globe, with many consumers preferring to use contactless methods of payment due to concerns that cash could be a vector for the disease.
Apple Pay is now used by 507 million people worldwide, which represents a significant increase in the last few years. Still, Apple believes that there is more market share to be gained, with around half of iPhone owners yet to be captured by the app.
Apple Pay does not yet make as much revenue as the App Store, but Apple will be looking at the mobile payments space with some excitement after its surging 2020. The company will have to avoid regulatory scrutiny, however, if it is to pursue its financial ambitions and currently that looks unlikely.