An Australian antitrust regulator on Friday turned down a interim request from three of the big four Australian banks who wanted permission to negotiate a deal with Apple for access to its NFC-based mobile payment technology, which is a part of the Apple Pay contactless payments service.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission noted that the interim ruling has little bearing on a full decision currently scheduled for October, Reuters reports. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp in July lodged a request for interim authorization from the ACCC as it awaits a formal ruling.
“However, given the complexity of the issues and the limited time available, the ACCC has decided not to grant interim authorisation at this time,” said ACCC Chairman Rod Sims. “The ACCC requires more time to consult and consider the views of industry, consumers, and other interested parties.”
Apple spoke against the banks’ desire to team up to negotiate a deal to gain access to its payments hardware, saying it would compromise security, and hinder innovation. The company had asked the ACCC to take the full six-month statutory period to assess the application thoroughly.
The banks want to negotiate for access to Apple’s NFC hardware on the iPhone, which would allow the banks to install their own third-party digital wallet apps onto the iPhone, Apple currently restricts access to the NFC hardware strictly to its own Apple Pay payments solution. The banks argue that is anticompetitive behavior.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp have yet to sign on to offer Apple Pay to their customers. However, ANZ, the other member of the big four banks, broke ranks and signed with Apple for the contactless payments system. ANZ reportedly saw a 20% increase in online credit card and deposit accounts after offering Apple Pay support.