Three of Australia’s big four banks have filed a joint application with anti-trust regulators, as they look to force Apple to negotiate with them as a group to gain access to the company’s NFC hardware found in its iPhones and Apple Watch, which is used for the company’s own Apple Pay payments system.
Apple, which operates its own Apple Pay mobile wallet, does not allow third-party electronic payment apps to be loaded onto to the hugely popular smartphones. The banks are seeking to be able to negotiate jointly for access to Apple’s phones without themselves being accused of violating anti-competition law.
Apple currently doesn’t allow third-party apps to access the NFC hardware used by Apple Pay to make contactless payments. The banks argue that is an anti-competitive restriction that hampers consumer choice.
The move is just another piece of the behind the scenes fight between Apple and Australian banks Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Westpac. (Big Four member New Zealand Banking Group has already signed with Apple to offer the contactless payments service to its customers.)
“This is about providing Australians with real choice and better outcomes,” said Novantas senior advisor Lance Blockley, speaking 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.” (Via The Sydney Morning Herald)
While Apple Pay rolled out in Australia in November 2015, it has faced an uphill battle in the country, due to issues negotiating fees with banks, especially the big four banks, many of who already have their own payments systems in place that they’d prefer their customers to use instead of Apple Pay.