The Corner

Economy & Business

Apple’s Restrictive Charitable-Giving Policy

Apple has a strange policy when it comes to charitable giving on its iOS devices: To accept money from donors, charities operating through apps must use Apple’s in-house payment system, Apple Pay, while many other apps accepting non-charitable payment are free to use third-party platforms.. Understandably, the policy enables Apple to make money off of the Apple Pay service, but charities often require unique or unorthodox infrastructure to accept and pass on donations, requirements Apple Pay cannot fulfill. This is not a wise business decision, as the restrictive limitation might cause Apple to witness an exodus of charities from their platforms and, more importantly, a significant decrease in charitable giving.

One such victim of this rule is DonorSee, a group that delivers donations directly to the people in need instead of sourcing them out to a third party. (Our Kevin Williamson profiled DonorSee for NR back in February.) Since its launch, DonorSee has avoided Apple Pay because it can’t fulfill the direct donor-to-recipient promise. Three months ago, however, founder Gret Glyer received an email from Apple pressuring him to adhere to the rule, and now, Apple will not allow Glyer and his team to make updates necessitated by the new iOS system unless he switches to Apple Pay. Of course, switching isn’t an option for DonorSee, but without making the switch, users will continue to experience crashes on the old version of the app.

Apple should either modify its payment restrictions so charitable-giving apps can use any system or change Apple Pay to be compatible with a wider range of apps. It’s a smart business decision: Apps such as DonorSee don’t want to leave Apple, but will be forced to competitors if heavy regulation precludes their ability to conduct business.


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