Apple has agreed to adjust the functioning of its mobile payments application to avoid a run-in with Swiss competition authorities over complaints by the banks that the consumer electronic giant was trying to over-ride the Twint app at contactless payment terminals.
A preliminary investigation by Weko, Switzerland’s Competition Commission, found that the automatic launch of Apple Pay when held close to a contactless payment terminal displaced payments using the Twint QR code application.
By agreeing to a workaround, Apple has avoided the prospect of a full-blown trial before the Swiss Competition Commission, which had become active following a complaint from Twint.
Markus Kilb, CEO of Twint, says: "The agreement will put an end to this obstruction by Apple. This means we will be able to ensure our customers enjoy uninterrupted use of Twint at cash-register terminals. We are continuing to work intensively on expanding our product on an ongoing basis."
Swiss banks are also striving to get Apple to open up its jealously-guarded NFC interface and have thus far effectively boycotted the roll-out of Apple Pay in Switzerland, itself the subject of an ongoing investigation by Weko.
Søren Mose, Twint chairman says: "We are delighted that Apple no longer wants to discriminate against its competitors in Switzerland. However, the activation of the NFC interface, as offered by Android, has not yet been achieved with this step. It would be desirable for Apple to fully open up this interface for its competitors."
Apple is also in hot water in neighbouring Germany, where the nation's savings bank have filed a complaint that the company's Apple Pay service discriminates against the home-grown bank-backed Girocard scheme. Like Twint, they want Apple to open the NFC interface to competitive offerings.
A similar battle between Australian banks and Apple ended in victory for the US company, when the nation's competition commission found in favour of Apple's IP.