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Korea's Financial Tech Firms Unite to File a Complaint with the Fair Trade Commission over Apple Pay

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In August Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Tells Australian Commission that Three Top Banks are in a Cartel to Dictate Terms for Apple Pay." In July Australia's three biggest banks, including no. 1 lender National Australia Bank, said they had lodged a joint application with anti-trust regulators seeking approval to collectively negotiate with Apple to install their own electronic payments applications on iPhones. Then in August Apple launched a blistering attack on three of Australia's big banks, saying their request to collectively negotiate over digital wallet access to the iPhone will compromise the handset's security, reduce innovation and blunt Apple's entry into the payments market in Australia. This remains an ongoing confrontation. In fact, South Korean Financial Tech firms are about to unite with the Australian banks in an attempt to force Apple to open their Apple Pay API.


A new Korean report published this morning states that South Korea's Financial Technology (Fintech) companies are "going ahead with an action against Apple which does not open its application programming interface (API) for near field communication (NFC) at the Korean Fair Trade Commission.


The Korean fintech firms are claiming that Apple's policy not to open its closed API is denying them NFC-based fintech business opportunities such as simple mobile payment, transportation cards and user identification. This issue will draw much attention as the Korean fintech companies are expected to lock horns with Apple, a global IT giant over opening the latter's API for NFC.


According to the IT industry, Korean fintech firms such as Korea NFC, Kona I, Cashbee and Interpay had a closed-door meeting on September 9 and deliberated in order to take action against Apple which does not open its API for NFC at the Fair Trade Commission. The meeting was also attended by those from the Korea Fintech Association and Tech and Law Firm which will offer legal advice to the Korean fintech firms.


Even though Apple supports NFC functions on the iPhone 6 and later versions, the functions can be used for Apple Pay only. As Apple does not open its API for NFC to the outside, iPhone users in Korea cannot use various NFC services such as paying for buses and subways, the identification of credit card users and mobile payment.


The Korean fintech firms are claiming that Apple's policy to close its API for NFC limits consumers' rights and prevents various services and business opportunities from being created."


Today's Business Korea report further states that 'Customers have rights to enjoy various NFC-based services. But iPhone users in Korea cannot numerous services such as paying fares for buses and subway, a safe tax service and an NFC-based police report service," said Hwang Seung-ik, CEO of Korea NFC.


In particular, the Korean fintech firms are paying attention to the fact that there is a growing move to demand that Apple open its API for NFC in Australia.


In Korea, as the Korean fintech companies take legal action to press Apple to open its API for NFC in earnest, a legal battle between Apple and the Korean fintech firms is expected to become fierce in the future.


The Korean fintech firms are planning to further push forward with the plan to appeal to the Fair Trade Commission after legal reviews by holding their second meeting at the end of this month.


CEO of Korea NFC added that 'We will receive a sincere answer from Apple and realize the opening of the API by appealing to the Fair Trade Commission and the Korea Communications Commission and working together with the Australian banks.'"


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