Apple sued over mobile payments market competition abuse allegations

Mobile payments - Apple - Lawsuit

Venmo and Cash App customers have filed a class action lawsuit against the iPhone maker.

PayPal’s Venmo and Block’s Cash App customers have sued Apple Inc. in a proposed class action lawsuit accusing the iPhone maker of having required consumers to pay “rapidly inflating prices” by manipulating mobile payments market competition.

The class action lawsuit was filed by four customers from Georgia, Hawaii, New York and South Carolina.

The mobile payments competition lawsuit was filed in a San Jose, California federal court. The filing accuses Apple of having violated US antitrust law by way of the agreements it had with mobile payments providers Venmo and Cash App.

Mobile payments - Antitrust Law - US Flag

The agreements they have with Apple restrict “feature competition” within peer-to-peer funds transfer apps. This includes banning both new and existing platforms from the use of “decentralized cryptocurrency technology,” according to the filing.

The mobile payments lawsuit is pursuing an injunction to separate Apple from its Apple Cash business.

The only defendant named in this class action lawsuit is Apple. The attorneys representing the plaintiffs are from the Bathaee Dunne law firm.

This new lawsuit only adds to the recent challenges Apple is facing in the antitrust category. For instance, in September, a US judge in California ruled that payment card issuers may proceed with a lawsuit against the iPhone maker regarding alleged anticompetition practices having to do with Apple Pay, the company’s mobile wallet app.

In yet another case, Apple requested that the US Supreme Court overturn an order issued in a lawsuit filed by Epic Games which challenged the in-app payment processing restrictions Apple had in place.

In this latest legal action, the Venmo and Cash App customers allege that Apple and the two other mobile payments apps “have repeatedly raised prices for transactions and services with no competitive check.” Their argument is that a peer-to-peer funds transfer application based on “decentralized” cryptocurrency tech “would allow iPhone users to send payments to each other without any intermediary at all.”

According to the filing, Apple has blocked at least two Bitcoin wallet apps from the App Store, including Damus and Zeus, which are backed by Jack Dorsey, founder of Block.

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