Germany's 'Lex Apple Pay': Payment Services Regulation Overtakes Competition Enforcement
CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series 2020, final version JECLAP 12 (2021) 68-81
21 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2020 Last revised: 3 Nov 2021
Date Written: June 1, 2020
As of January 2020, Section 58a of the German Payment Services Supervisory Act (PSSA) provides a right for payment service providers and e-money issuers to access technical infrastructure that contributes to mobile and internet-based payment services. This right of access is intended to promote technological innovation and competition in the consumers’ interests in having a wide choice among payment services, including competing solutions for mobile and internet-based payments. The provision has been dubbed ‘Lex Apple Pay’ as it seems to have been saliently motivated by the objective to give payment service providers the right of direct access to the NFC interfaces of Apple’s mobile devices. In enacting Section 58a PSSA, the German legislature has rushed forwards, overtaking the EU Commission’s ongoing competition investigation into Apple Pay as well as the pending reform of the German Competition Act, which is aimed precisely at operators of technological platforms, which enjoy a gatekeeper position. This article explores the scope of application and the statutory requirements of this right of access as well as available defences and possible legal barriers. We point out that, to restore a level playing field in the internal market, the natural option would be to further harmonize EU payment service regulation, including the availability of a right of access to technical infrastructure for mobile and internet-based payment services and e-money issuers.
Keywords: ‘Lex Apple Pay’; Technology Platforms; Antitrust; Payment Services Regulation; Mobile Payment; Access to NFC Interfaces; Wallet Apps; Internal Market Regulation
JEL Classification: K21, K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation