Apple surprised by 'quick' German law on digital payments

German parliamentary committee will force operators of electronic money infrastructure to offer access to rivals

Apple has said that opening its mobile payments system to rivals could hurt data protection and the security of financial information.

The statement comes after a Germany parliamentary committee unexpectedly voted to force the tech giant to open up Apple Pay to rival providers in the country.

The vote took place late on Wednesday and the outcome will be in the form of an amendment to an anti-money laundering law that was adopted by the full parliament on Thursday. It is expected to come into effect at the start of 2020.

This legislation will force operators of electronic money infrastructure to offer access to rivals. Although it didn't name Apple specifically, the US company has hit back.

"We are surprised at how suddenly this legislation was introduced," Apple said. "We fear that the draft law could be harmful to user-friendliness, data protection and the security of financial information."

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Apple Pay is one of the fastest-growing areas of the tech giants business. It lets people pay with their iPhones, offering a digital alternative to traditional banking.

The subject of digital payments, along with proposed cryptocurrencies, such as Facebook's Libra, has resulted in a demand for tighter regulations on US tech companies.

However, the office for German chancellor Angela Merkel pushed the committee to actually withdraw the amendment, according to Reuters, which cited a person close to the country's government.

"It's quite unusual for the Chancellor's office to try and stop something in the last minute," said Jens Zimmermann, a senior lawmaker from the Social Democrats, junior coalition partners to Merkel's conservatives. "It would be astonishing if they let themselves be reined back by an American company," he added. "We want fair competition between payment providers."

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