Australian Banks Denied Request to Negotiate Over Apple Pay

An Australian antitrust regulator has denied a request from three of the country's biggest banks to collectively negotiate a deal with Apple over the use of third-party digital wallet software on its iPhones (via AppleInsider).

Last month, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Westpac lodged a joint application with the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to negotiate with Apple over gaining access to its NFC-based mobile payment technology, having so far resisted signing deals to use Apple Pay.

Apple-pay-in-stores-amex
Apple strongly criticized the attempt to negotiate a deal over access to its payment hardware, claiming it would compromise security and dent innovation, and the company asked the ACCC to take the full six-month statutory period to assess the application more thoroughly.

Apple will be encouraged to learn that on Friday the ACCC decided not to grant the banks' request during this early stage of its assessment process. ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement that the commission requires more time to consult and consider the views of all the parties involved and other interested parties.

The entire ACCC authorization process usually takes up to six months, including the release of a draft decision for consultation before making a final decision. We expect to release a draft decision in October 2016. The ACCC's decision not to grant interim authorization at this time is not indicative of whether or not a draft or final authorization will be granted.

Last week, Apple lambasted the banks for asking the ACCC for an interim authorization, which would have allowed them to collectively boycott Apple Pay while the negotiations took place.

"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 company wrote in a three-page submission to the ACCC. "In Apple's view, interim authorization of the cartel by the ACCC should be refused."

ANZ is the only bank in Australia's "Big Four" that played no part in the original joint application and has agreed to allow its cards to be used via Apple Pay.

ANZ reportedly gave up some of its interchange fee to Apple as part of the deal, but the other big banks appear unwilling to forfeit the millions of dollars they would have earned through the fees.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

Top Rated Comments

cocotutch Avatar
100 months ago
GOOD.

I'm from Australia, and I can tell you this; our banks are more-often-than-not completely useless. Not many people know that when Apple Pay was announced, and subsequently Android Pay, all of our banks' PR teams seemed to confirm over Facebook and Twitter that their "own mobile wallet solution is in the works."

This understandably made most of the country angry, and a staggeringly vast amount of hatred was directed at each of them on various social media outlets and (I'm assuming) in snail mail. Commonwealth Bank (known colloquially as "Commbank") happens to be one of the worst offenders, having MANDATED customers' iPhones have an NFC compatible sticker on the back, which gets touched to the reader when you wish to make a payment. Of course to use this feature you need to have their app open, which is terribly written, glitches frequently and at least for me, forgets that one of my accounts exists at least once a fortnight. The same goes for Android phones except you can use the chip, but all payments MUST be processed through the app.

I was utterly blown away by ANZ's decision to adopt Apple Pay (and more recently Android Pay). The day it was announced, I swear you could've stuck your head out a window and heard the sound of nerds everywhere signing up for ANZ accounts. It was a beautiful day. Since then, customers of other banks have been getting increasingly bitter over the continued absence of Apple and Android Pay. Both services are wanted by customers in Australia, yet the fat cats running the banks are too busy lining their own pockets--not a joke, our bank CEOs take a stupidly large salary--to even for a nanosecond consider the wants and needs of the people. It's been like this for years. It's any wonder really why they're fighting this; they don't want to lose a cent of that fee revenue.

As an Australian, I applaud the ACCC's initial decision. But sadly they can be bullied into submission, and are quite frequently. The banks as good as said they'd keep fighting it until they win, but from experience we know Apple won't fold.

All that said, ANZ's membership has been apparently increasing exponentially. It's sad that the rest of the banks are gonna let this happen, and not capitalise on the monumental opportunity of adopting Apple and Android Pay.
Score: 28 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oldmacs Avatar
100 months ago
I hate the Australian banks, but its hilarious, Apple is just as greedy as the banks are in this case.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
100 months ago
I hate the Australian banks, but its hilarious, Apple is just as greedy as the banks are in this case.
How is "greedy"?

Apple offer a bullet-proof service deeply rooted in the hardware they sell, can Aussie banks claim a similar degree of security and ease of use?
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Three141 Avatar
100 months ago
"These banks want to maintain complete control over their customers"

This statement makes me laugh both are as bad as each other.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oldmacs Avatar
100 months ago
The banks are short sided. Any fee they pay is minimal compared to how much they will make by promoting Apple users to use their credit card via Apple Pay. They get a fee from the retailers anyway so what's the big brouhaha?
Apple is just as bad denying use of the NFC through the bank's apps. This situation only exists because the banks want to keep their money and and Apple wants to make more.

I really doubt people are going to spend more just because they have Apple pay.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BBCWatcher Avatar
100 months ago
The headline ("Australian Banks Denied Request to Negotiate Over Apple Pay") is misleading or even inaccurate. All the ACCC did was deny the three Australian banks' request for a quick decision. But the ACCC didn't make any decision except a decision on how quickly they'd decide. An accurate headline would be "Delayed Decision on Australian Banks' Apple Pay Complaint."

I read the headline and thought, "Well, that was remarkably fast." No, it really wasn't. The only news is that there is no fast news.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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