Australian Regulators Prevent Banks From Collectively Bargaining With Apple Over Apple Pay

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) today issued a determination that again denies authorization for the major banks in the country to work together to negotiate with Apple to gain access to the NFC chip within iOS devices.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corporation, National Australia Bank, and Bendigo and Adelaide bank had asked for permission to collectively bargain with Apple and boycott Apple Pay. According to the ACCC, the request was denied because the potential benefits do not outweigh the detriments, and there were concerns that the collective bargaining could reduce or distort competition in a number of markets.


The Australian banks have been aiming to get access to the NFC chip in the iPhone, which would allow their own payments services to work on iOS devices alongside Apple Pay. Apple does not allow third-party access to the NFC chip because of security concerns, leading Apple to urge the ACCC to deny the request.

The banks argued that access to the NFC chip in the iPhone would allow them to offer competing wallets, which would lead to increased competition and consumer choice in digital wallets and increased innovation and investment in digital wallets.

"This is currently a finely balanced decision. The ACCC is not currently satisfied that the likely benefits from the proposed conduct outweigh the likely detriments," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

With the request for collective negotiations shut down, Australian banks that are holding out against Apple Pay will each need to negotiate individually with Apple. Following the ACCC's statement, the banks released a joint statement calling the decision disappointing.

Thus far, the banks involved in the dispute have resisted implementing Apple Pay, and it's not clear if today's decision will result in a meaningful change. While Apple Pay has been available in Australia for quite some time through partnerships with American Express and ANZ, the many Australians who bank with the three major banks involved in the dispute do not have access to Apple Pay.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

Top Rated Comments

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43 months ago
Every time I hear the words "increased competition and consumer choice" from a bank, cable company, media company, telecom, or insurer, I know they are flat out lying.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago

Now that Apple has decided they're good and ready, they've blocked NFC access to anyone who doesn't jump on board with *THEIR* scheme and pay a % of the transactions.

Commonwealth (and others) have invested hundreds of millions into this technology - now completely moot just because Apple says so.

you cannot possibly have said that with a straight face. The technology implemented by Commbank is so cumbersome and troublesome i can't believe people actually pay for to use it (yes, our bank charges us for the "convenience" and kicks up a fuss when someone else develops a more efficient way to do things).

it isn't moot because apple "says so". The banks simply overpaid for an underdeveloped technology- the amount is immaterial and does not grant them exclusive rights to monopolising the Aussie market.

you want convenience (literally) at your fingertips? Expect to pay for it. That's how the world works.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago


....

Commonwealth (and others) have invested hundreds of millions into this technology - now completely moot just because Apple says so.

I get that it's Apple's hardware, but their attitude is that the hardware can only be used by Apple's payment service and no one else's. What next - you can't make phone calls unless it's through Apple's own VoIP service?

It's Orwellian and it's worse for Apple customers in the long run.

who cares.... Commonwealth and other banks like them made the wrong bet.


I think our banks just want competition, and tha benefits us the consumer.

They're lying to you....

Here are some rules to live by:
Never trust a bank, credit card company, ISP, or insurance company.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
About damn time! Im with one of those 3 banks.. what a disappointment this stand off has been. GIMMI APPLEPAY:D:apple:
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago

Exactly, that is what I did to start with. Have now moved all banking to ANZ and closed all my Westpac accounts.

I have had an ING account for years. All set up in ApplePay now. Love it. Out for a walk with just my phone. Go get a coffee and ApplePay away! Sorry Commbank, will not wait for you any more.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago

About damn time! Im with one of those 3 banks.. what a disappointment this stand off has been. GIMMI APPLEPAY:D:apple:

You should just setup an ANZ account. I still bank with the Commonwealth, but transfer my budgeted spending money across to my ANZ account.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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