The lawsuit alleges that Apple has abused its market power in the mobile peer-to-peer payment industry, limiting competition and inflating prices, Reuters reported Monday (Nov. 20). The plaintiffs argue that these actions by Apple violate U.S. antitrust laws.
Apple did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Jose, California, seeks an injunction that could potentially force Apple to divest or segregate its Apple Cash business, according to the report.
The lawsuit was filed by four consumers from different states, representing Venmo and Cash App users, the report said. They claim that Apple’s agreements with Venmo and Cash App have limited “feature competition” and resulted in rapidly inflating prices for transactions and services, with no competitive checks.
These agreements limit feature competition like the use of decentralized cryptocurrency technology within peer-to-peer payment apps, per the report.
The plaintiffs said in the suit that Apple had excluded from its App Store the Bitcoin wallet apps Zeus and Damus and that a peer-to-peer (P2P) app based on decentralized crypto technology would allow users of Apple’s iPhone to send payments to each other with no intermediary, according to the report.
This lawsuit adds to Apple’s growing list of antitrust challenges, the report said. The tech giant is already facing legal challenges related to anticompetitive practices in its Apple Pay service. A U.S. judge ruled in September that payment card issuers can sue Apple over alleged anticompetitive practices involving Apple Pay.
In that case, the plaintiffs — a class of credit unions and financial institutions — argued that Apple broke federal antitrust law by holding a monopoly over the American market for tap-and-pay wallets for its devices.
In another case, Apple has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn an order in a lawsuit filed by Epic Games challenging Apple’s restrictions on in-app payment processing, Reuters said.
Epic Games is attempting to circumvent a commission of up to 30% that Apple charges developers for digital goods and services sold through its App Store.