Australian Banks Challenge Apple Over Mobile Payment App Restrictions

Three of Australia's biggest banks have lodged a joint application with anti-trust regulators to negotiate with Apple over gaining access to the NFC-based mobile payment hardware in its smartphones (via Reuters).

Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Westpac have so far resisted signing deals to use the company's Apple Pay mobile payment system, because they want their customers to be able to use digital wallets they have already financed and developed.

Apple-pay-in-stores-amex
However, none of the banks want to be accused of violating anti-competition law by negotiating deals, which is where the application comes in.

If the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) lets the banks collectively negotiate with Apple under the terms of the application, it would enable them to undertake "a limited form of boycott" in which they would all agree not to negotiate with Apple individually while the talks take place.

Apple currently only allows its own mobile payment system to access the NFC-hardware in its iPhone devices, which banks argue is an anti-competitive restriction that hampers consumer choice.

"This is about providing Australians with real choice and better outcomes," said Lance Blockley, a senior advisor at Novantas who spoke to The Sydney Morning Herald on behalf of the banks.

"If successful, the application would have tremendous benefits for the entire Australian mobile payments landscape including for public transport fares, airlines, ticketing, store loyalty and rewards programs and many more applications yet to be developed."

Apple Pay launched in Australia in November, but has since been slow to roll out in the country. The delay was thought to be down to issues Apple was experiencing negotiating fees with the nation's largest banking institutes.

Three months ago it added Apple Pay support for credit and debit cards from the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (aka ANZ), the only bank in Australia's "Big Four" that played no part in the latest application.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Top Rated Comments

landroverz7 Avatar
102 months ago
The problem is Australia are way too ahead with payment technology. We don't allow signature anymore its all PIN. MasterCard and Visa Paypass is just about everywhere and most people actually use it, and all the major banks have their own mobile payment that allows Android phones NFC to pay. Apple Pay can be considered late to the game. And as all this technology exists and Banks have invested heavily in them, they don't want to give apple any fees and will rather force their customers to use their own solutions. What banks don't understand is Apple Pay is way more secure and convenient to the user :(
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
locksmack Avatar
102 months ago
Australian banks need to get with the program.

They are posting billions of dollars of profit every quarter, but won't pay Apple the pittance to use their payment service that their customers are yearning for. The banks won't listen to their customers that are the ones lining their pockets. Banks in other countries have jumped on board, why can't we?

I'm personally about to shut down all of my NAB accounts (inc mortgage) and transfer to ANZ - at least they listened to their customers on this one.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
japanime Avatar
102 months ago
The Olde Banking System, shooting itself in the foot once again. :p
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Glassed Silver Avatar
102 months ago
Well, whilst they are at it, I wish iOS was able to read RFID tags for example.
It's quite frustrating to know that the hardware is there, but you can't use it for anything but Apple Pay (which by the way... is nowhere to be seen in Germany, but even if...)

So yeah... Thing is, I'd love to tag a couple of things I seem to frequently misplace or tag boxes in the attic, so when I'm up there all I'd need to do was scan the surrounding tags and immediately be able to find whatever I'm looking for.

Long term goal is to never ever have to look for items longer than it takes to breeze through a couple of rooms anymore.

What bastards. They need to not make their own wallets and get over themselves.
Yeah, let's all praise Apple and dodge when they offer something, willingly weakening competition, because Apple clearly shines the most the less competition they face... /s

Glassed Silver:mac
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hbt15 Avatar
102 months ago
If the idiots at NAB, Westpac et al bothered to look at how tremendously ***** their banking apps are they'd realise that even if customers did have access to them they'd prefer to use apple pay anyway.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jasonsmith_88 Avatar
102 months ago
Apple currently only allows its own mobile payment system to access the NFC-hardware in its iPhones, which banks argue is an anti-competitive restriction that hampers consumer choice.
Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Westpac have so far resisted signing deals to use the company's Apple Pay mobile payment system, because they want their customers to be able to use digital wallets they have already financed and developed.
Translation - we want customers to use our own wallets, so we'll be anti-competitive and prevent consumers from using Apple Pay. We have no problem with anti-competitiveness, if it's us being anti-competitive. But hey, if Apple wants to be anti-competitive by preventing us from using NFC, we'll bitch and moan to no end.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)