Australian Consumer Watchdog to Question Apple Over Westpac Chat App Payments Ban

by

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is seeking clarification from Apple over its decision to ban an app extension that lets Westpac bank customers use social media and mobile messaging platforms to make payments.

Known as Westpac Keyboard, the feature was announced in March and let the bank's customers change the default keyboard in social messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Snapchat, in order to make payments to friends, family, and businesses.


Apple wrote to Westpac last week to tell the bank that its three-month-old keyboard feature would no longer be allowed on iPhones, according to The Australian Financial Review. Staff were reportedly perplexed by Apple's generic explanation letter, which suggested that keyboards should not be able to send money, or that it may offend some users.

Westpac has written to its customers to let them know the keyboard app extension will be removed in July. The app extension was the first in the Asia Pacific region to enable payments, but Apple has previously approved similar apps from other institutions, including India's ICICI Bank and Spain's Banco Sabadell and CaixaBank.    

The bank has not commented on the reasons behind Apple's decision, but sources told AFR that Westpac had already addressed security concerns initially raised by Apple and had the app approved from that perspective. The ACCC consumer watchdog has now said it will be "seeking a proper explanation" from Apple to make sure it is not an anti-competitive move.

Westpac was among a group of institutions alongside Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, which unsuccessfully asked the ACCC to allow them to collectively bargain with Apple over access to the iPhone's NFC chip to allow their own payments services to work alongside Apple Pay.

Apple is launching its own payments service that will work over the company's iMessage chat service in iOS 11, which is set to be released in the fall. The service will be available in the U.S. first but no date has been set for its arrival in Australia.

(Thanks, Jason!)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
43 months ago

I wish Apple would just open up NFC to third partiets and not be so protective of Apple pay. Not everyone wants to use their sollution.

Nope. Not interested in Reducing the security on my phone so others can have the hack of the day.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago

Being anticompetitive is perfectly legal.

You need to be dominating the market to be fined. Apple isn't dominating any market in the EU.

What's really anti competitive is a banking cartel that blocks the adoption of Apple Pay in a country by not offering a card that supports it.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago

That’s hopefully the next big fine of the EU against Apple. Apple doesn’t look good with this whole NFC stuff at all

Being anticompetitive is perfectly legal.

You need to be dominating the market to be fined. Apple isn't dominating any market in the EU.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago

Staff were reportedly perplexed by Apple's generic explanation letter … Apple has previously approved similar apps from other institutions

Welcome to being a developer on the App Store. This must be their first app.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago

Nope. Not interested in Reducing the security on my phone so others can have the hack of the day.

How exactly would opening access to NFC reduce the security of the iPhone? So are you saying that Apple is already making the iPhone less secure?
https://www.macrumors.com/2017/06/07/developer-access-iphone-nfc-chip-ios-11/
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
43 months ago
Probably because they can't profit from every transaction since the money is from the bank and doesn't go through the App Store
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Samsung Mocks Apple for Ditching Power Adapters With iPhone 12 Lineup

Thursday October 15, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Samsung on its social channels is mocking Apple for removing the power adapter from the iPhone 12 lineup and other iPhone models, pointing out the fact that the Samsung Galaxy smartphones continue to ship with a power adapter. "Included with your Galaxy," reads a Samsung Facebook post that features a picture of a power adapter. Apple notably is no longer providing power adapters or...

iPhone 12 Pro Pre-Orders Already Selling Out With Delivery Times Pushing Into November

Friday October 16, 2020 6:35 am PDT by
Apple today opened pre-orders for the 6.1-inch models of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro through its website and the Apple Store app, and estimated delivery times are already slipping into November for select configurations in the United States. Customers ordering a SIM-free/Pacific Blue/128GB version of the iPhone 12 Pro, for example, are already facing an estimated delivery window of...

HomePod Mini Cable is Non-Detachable, Ends With USB-C Connector for Use With Included 20W Power Adapter

Friday October 16, 2020 12:45 pm PDT by
While not detailed in the tech specs, MacRumors can confirm that Apple's new HomePod mini features a non-detachable power cable that ends with a USB-C connector for use with the 20W power adapter included in the box. With the switch to USB-C, the HomePod mini could potentially be powered by a wider range of devices and peripherals, ranging from MacBooks to USB-C battery packs with enough...

Apple's New MagSafe Charger and Cases Begin Arriving to Customers

Saturday October 17, 2020 10:10 am PDT by
Apple's new MagSafe charger and cases have begun arriving to some customers earlier than expected, and images of the accessories have started to surface on Twitter. The photos provide a first look at the products in real-world use. As of writing, some MagSafe cases are also available for pickup at select Apple Stores in countries like the United States, Canada, and Germany. Filip...

New Google App Feature Lets You Hum a Song to Search for It

Saturday October 17, 2020 4:05 am PDT by
Google has added a new feature to its Search app that allows you to hum a song that's stuck in your head, and then use the company's machine learning algorithm to try and identify it. In the Google app or using the Google Search widget, tap the mic icon and say "what's this song?" or click the "Search a song" button. Then start humming the tune for 10-15 seconds. When you're done, the...

Brazilian Certifications Suggest iPhone 12 Mini Features 2,227mAh Battery and iPhone 12 Has 2,815mAh Battery

Friday October 16, 2020 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone mini has the shortest battery life out of all the iPhones in the iPhone 12 lineup due to its small size, but Apple has not provided public information about the battery's capacity. A regulatory filing from Brazil, however, suggests the iPhone 12 mini has a battery capacity of 2,227mAh. The same regulatory information says the iPhone 12 features a 2,815mAh battery, which is...

Apple Offering Free AirPods With iPhone 11 Purchase in India as Part of Diwali Celebration

Friday October 16, 2020 12:35 pm PDT by
Apple today launched a new Diwali promotion in India that will see the company providing customers with a set of AirPods with the purchase of any iPhone 11 model. The new iPhone 12 models are not part of the promotion. Apple is offering the standard AirPods With Charging Case free with purchase, but customers can choose to upgrade to the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case or the AirPods Pro....

Apple Event to Unveil First Apple Silicon Macs Could Happen on November 17

Friday October 16, 2020 2:24 am PDT by
Apple will hold another digital event on November 17 to announce its first Apple Silicon powered Macs, according to frequent leaker Jon Prosser. Apple has already said that this year it intends to introduce the first Mac powered by an Apple Silicon chip instead of an Intel processor. One thing it hasn't revealed is the date it will be announced. According to Prosser's source, that date is No...

Apple Online Store Down Ahead of iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Pre-Orders

Thursday October 15, 2020 11:15 pm PDT by
Apple's online store is down ahead of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro pre-orders, which are set to begin at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time in the United States. "You're... early," reads the Apple Store message when attempting to visit the U.S. website. "Pre-order begins at 5:00 a.m. PDT. Enjoy the extra sleep." Apple used to do new device pre-orders at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time, but since last year, has...

When You Can Pre-Order the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Every Time Zone

Thursday October 15, 2020 10:55 am PDT by
Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro are set to kick off on Friday, October 16 at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time, which is a new launch time that Apple adopted as of last year. Apple is planning to make the new devices available in multiple countries around the world simultaneously, so we've made a guide to let MacRumors readers know when pre-orders will in their country. Pre-orders...