Apple's focus on finance is under the microscope by a UK regulator

Apple Card on iPhone and Apple Watch
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple finds itself in the crosshairs of another antitrust investigation, this time by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the financial watchdog in the United Kingdom.

While no investigation is currently underway, the FCA says that it is inviting discussion about the impact of Big Tech on the financial services market within the country, adding that it wants to ensure that the benefits of Big Tech's disruption of the market isn't coming at the cost of "good customer and market outcomes."

Big business

While Apple's presence in the UK finance market is smaller than in the United States — there is no Apple Card, for example — there is little doubt that Apple would like to change that. It isn't alone, either, with other large tech companies running their eyes over ways they can make a splash in the world of banking and finance.

According to Sheldon Mills, Executive Director of Consumers and Competition, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. "In recent years, Big Tech's entry into financial services, in the UK and elsewhere, has demonstrated their potential to disrupt established markets, drive innovation and reduce costs for consumers," Mills said via press release.

However, there is already a concern that Big Tech's presence in the market might not be a net positive. That's what this discussion is supposed to get to the bottom of. "The discussion we are starting today will inform the FCA's pro-competitive approach to digital markets, and I encourage consumers, firms, and fellow regulators to join the conversation," Sheldon added.

One concern is that companies like Apple could "exploit market power" to gain market share, impacting the ability of the competition to compete.

While there is currently no Apple Card in the UK, Apple did buy a credit checking company in the country earlier this year. Apple reportedly picked up Credit Kudos, a company specializing in credit scores and more. It's thought that might have been the first step towards bringing an Apple-branded credit card to the UK.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.