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US consumer watchdog takes 'careful look' at Apple's BNPL plans

US consumer watchdog takes 'careful look' at Apple's BNPL plans

Apple's entry into the buy now, pay later market is prompting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to take a "very careful look" at the implications of Big Tech moving into the sector.

Apple's decision to offer a BNPL product has earned the attention of CFPB director Rohit Chopra, who tells the Financial Times that the consumer agency will look into whether Big Tech's entry into the sector "may actually reduce competition and innovation in the market".

Chopra is also concerned about Apple's use of data, asking: "Is it being combined with browsing history, geolocation history, health data, other apps?"

The director says that Big Tech's interest in BNPL is "inextricably linked to the desire to dominate the digital wallet," adding that "any tech giant that has a lot of control over a mobile operating system is going to have unique advantages to exploit data and ecommerce more broadly".

Last year, the CFPB ordered Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal and Square to hand over information on their payment system plans so that it can see how they gather and use customer data.

The agency is also already investigating the BNPL sector, submitting a series of orders to Affirm, Afterpay, Klarna, PayPal, and Zip to hand over information about their business models and customers' shopping behaviour when using their products.

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