Norwegian payment app Vipps takes on Apple, wants EU antitrust action

Photo illustration of Apple Pay logo
A smartphone with the Apple Pay logo is placed on a laptop in this illustration taken on July 14, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustratio/

BRUSSELS, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Norwegian mobile payment app Vipps wants European Union (EU) antitrust regulators to force Apple (AAPL.O) to allow access to its tap and go technology without any restrictions so that other companies can be more competitive, Vipps Chief Executive Rune Garborg said.

Garborg's comments came a day after Apple made a last ditch bid to convince EU antitrust regulators that it does not block rivals' access to its technology used for mobile wallets at a closed hearing. Vipps was a third party at the hearing.

Vipps, owned by a consortium of Norwegian banks and which merged with Danish peer MobilePay last year, said the issue is critical because of Apple's popularity in the Nordics and the increasing use of mobile payments, which is powered by near field communication (NFC) technology.

"This is really important for us. Seventy-eight percent of card transactions in Norway are done through terminals. It is why NFC is so important especially among young people," Garborg told Reuters.

"Apple is only sharing NFC with banks, which have to pay for installing their cards in Apple Pay. But for us as a wallet, we don't have open access to NFC," he said.

Vipps said NFC access would increase the geographical reach of its mobile wallet, make it easier to innovate products and better enable cross-border transactions.

Apple had no immediate comment. The company has previously said that Apple Pay is one of many options available to European consumers and which has ensured equal access to its technology.

Vipps said it tried several alternatives to NFC but found them cumbersome and not competitive.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Josie Kao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.