Apple Lambasts Australian Banks Over Call For iPhone NFC Access

Apple has strongly criticized an attempt by three of Australia's big banks to jointly negotiate a deal over access to the iPhone's NFC mobile payment hardware, claiming it would compromise security and scupper innovation in the field (via Financial Review).

In a clear opprobrium of Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Westpac, Apple told the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that "allowing the banks to form a cartel to collectively dictate terms to new business models and services would set a troubling precedent and delay the introduction of new, potentially disruptive technologies."

Apple-pay-in-stores-amex
The three banks lodged a joint application with anti-trust regulators last month to negotiate with Apple over gaining access to its digital wallet hardware, having so far resisted signing deals to use the company's Apple Pay mobile payment system.

But in a three-page submission to the ACCC, Apple accused the banks of using "innuendo and misstatements" in their application, and said that granting access to the iPhone's transmitter to allow bank apps to facilitate contactless payments would compromise Apple's hardware, harm consumers, and lead to less competition:

Apple upholds very high security standards for our customers when they use Apple devices to make payments. Providing simple access to the NFC antenna by banking applications would fundamentally diminish the high level of security Apple aims to have on our devices. 

Unfortunately, and based on their limited understanding of the offering, the [banks] perceive Apple Pay as a competitive threat. These banks want to maintain complete control over their customers. The present application is only the latest tactic employed by these competing banks to blunt Apple's entry into the Australian market.

The submission made clear that the banks are "essential to Apple's ability to offer Apple Pay on a meaningful basis with Australia". However, it also lambasted their negotiating approach, with Apple claiming that one of the banks had even refused to enter into a confidentiality agreement to allow for initial discussions about the terms of participating in Apple Pay.

Apple asked the ACCC not to provide any authorization for a deal this month and suggested it take the full six-month statutory period to assess the application more thoroughly.

The submitted document was signed by Marg Demmer, a former cards executive at ANZ Banking Group, the only bank in Australia's "Big Four" that played no part in the original joint application and has already allowed its cards to be used via Apple Pay.

Whenever a bank card transaction takes place, the card-issuing bank deducts what's known as an interchange fee from the amount it pays the acquiring bank that handles the card transaction for the merchant. ANZ is said to have agreed to give up some of its interchange fee to Apple as part of its deal with the company, but the other big banks appear unwilling to negotiate a similar deal.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

Popular Stories

Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

10 Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Monday July 8, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models simultaneously, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different – already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
iOS 18 on iPhone Feature

Everything New in iOS 18 Beta 3

Monday July 8, 2024 12:54 pm PDT by
With the third betas of iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 that Apple released today, there are additional tweaks to a number of features like Dark Mode icons, the Photos app, emoji in Messages, and more, with Apple appearing to be preparing for the launch of Apple Intelligence. Apple will continue updating iOS 18‌ over the course of the next couple of months, refining the beta prior to its launch....
iPhone 15 Pro Cameras

iPhone 17 Pro Max Will Be First Model to Feature Three 48MP Cameras

Thursday July 11, 2024 12:20 am PDT by
Next year's iPhone 17 Pro Max will feature an upgraded 48-megapixel Tetraprism camera for enhanced photo quality and zoom functionality, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his n-iphone-tetraprism-upgrade-ca62dd37e364">latest investor note published to Medium, Kuo said the key specification change would be a 1/2.6" 48MP CIS sensor, up from the 1/3.1" 12MP sensor expected to be used...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID

iPhone 16 Models Rumored to Have Face ID-Related Design Changes

Tuesday July 9, 2024 9:15 am PDT by
iPhone 16 models coming later this year could have some Face ID-related "design changes," supply chain publication DigiTimes said this week. The original source of this information is British newspaper The Telegraph, which six weeks ago reported that Face ID component supplier Coherent was considering selling or repurposing a manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, a small town in...
iPhone 17 Plus Feature

iPhone 17 'Slim': Everything We Know So Far

Friday July 5, 2024 5:13 am PDT by
In 2025, Apple is expected to discontinue the iPhone "Plus" device in its iPhone 17 lineup to make way for an iPhone "Slim" – although it may not actually be called this when it debuts in the fall of next year. Even though the iPhone 16 series launch is still over two months away, when you consider that we learned about larger displays on the iPhone 16 Pro models way back in May 2023, rumors...
AirPods Pro Beta Firmware

Apple Releases New AirPods Pro 2 Beta Firmware With Support for iOS 18 Features

Tuesday July 9, 2024 11:46 am PDT by
Apple today released a second beta firmware for the AirPods Pro 2, including both the Lightning and USB-C versions. The updated firmware has a build number 7A5244b and it is available to developers at the current time. This is the second firmware update that Apple has released since announcing new AirPods Pro 2 features in June. There are several new features that are coming to the AirPods...
iPhone 16 Pro Front Update Blue

iPhone 16 Pro Rumored to Support 40W Fast Charging and 20W MagSafe

Wednesday July 10, 2024 3:57 am PDT by
Apple's forthcoming iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will support 40W wired fast charging and 20W MagSafe charging, claims a rumor currently swirling around China. Right now, iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models are capable of up to 27W peak charging speeds with an appropriate USB-C power adapter, while official MagSafe chargers from Apple and authorized third parties can wirelessly charge...
Generic iOS 18 Feature Real Mock

iOS 18 Public Beta Coming Soon: How to Get Your iPhone Ready

Tuesday July 9, 2024 6:30 am PDT by
Apple last month announced that the first public beta of iOS 18 would be released in July, so it should be available to try out soon. Below, we outline everything you need to know about the upcoming iOS 18 public beta. Timing The first iOS 17 and iOS 16 public betas came out in the first half of July in the past two years. iOS 16: Monday, July 11, 2022 iOS 17: Wednesday, July 12, 2023 ...

Top Rated Comments

FatPigeon Avatar
103 months ago
These banks want to maintain complete control over their customers
I love Apple stuff but that's a bit rich coming from them.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kdarling Avatar
103 months ago
Australians should be proud that some of their fellows still have enough backbone to stand up to Apple.

Opening up NFC would be beneficial all over the world, from wallets to ticketing systems to personal data exchanges.

Moreover, Apple is simply hosting secure payment applets written by the credit card companies. Apple didn't code those or the tokenization. Their demand that banks pay a fee to let their own customers register with those common credit card applets, is sheer greed.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NotAdvisable Avatar
103 months ago
Australians should be proud that some of their fellows still have enough backbone to stand up to Apple.
Nope, I'm disgusted in my bank (Commonwealth) for partaking in these 'fighting' matches with Apple, and they're paying for it by loosing customers to ANZ.

I want Apple Pay, and I don't want the banks accessing the NFC.
They'd use their lame applications, and it wouldn't be tied into the OS like Apple Pay is.

Apple's right. The Aussie Banks are just being greedy themselves.
Get on-board or lose more customers, it seems.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rmcq Avatar
103 months ago
The banks have paid to install all of the nfc machines which are present in virtually every shop across the country.
No, the merchant (retailer) pays exorbitant monthly fees to the bank for the privilege of having a terminal. The banks pay nothing.

For the record, I dumped by Westpac and Virgin credit cards for an ANZ card the day of the announcement.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MH01 Avatar
103 months ago
Ha ha in the left corner greedy Apple, in the right corner , greedy banks.....both have our best interests at heart .... Let the BS flow.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lenortic577 Avatar
103 months ago
Hmmm... the NAB has an iPhone app that still hasn't been optimized for iPhone 6/6+ screen resolution, how many years ago was that? Oh that's right, nearly 2 years ago now.

They're not exactly demonstrating that they're capable of creating and maintaining an App to using the NFC chip, which Apple would never give them access to anyway.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)