Apple has signed a deal with Cuscal Payments Group, which will see their Apple Pay contactless payments solution expand to over 30 small banks and credit unions in Australia in the near future. The deal should extend availability of the payments solution to over 4 million additional Australian users.
The full list (via Cuscal) of financial institutions are:
- Bank Australia
- Bank of Sydney
- Beyond Bank Australia
- Big Sky Building Society
- Australian Unity
- CAPE Credit Union
- Central West Credit Union
- Illawarra Credit Union
- Catalyst Money
- Community First Credit Union
- Northern Beaches Credit Union
- Credit Union Australia (CUA)
- Credit Union SA
- Defence Bank
- First Option Credit Union
- Goldfields Money
- Goulburn Murray Credit Union Co-Op
- Holiday Coast Credit Union
- Horizon Credit Union
- Intech Credit Union
- Laboratories Credit Union
- My State Bank
- The Rock
- Northern Inland Credit Union
- People’s Choice Credit Union
- Police Bank
- Customs Bank
- QT Mutual Bank
- Select Encompass Credit Union
- South West Slopes Credit Union
- Sydney Credit Union
- Teachers Mutual Bank
- The Mac (Macarthur Credit Union)
- Warwick Credit Union
- Woolworths Employees’ Credit Union
In a statement, Apple Pay vice president Jennifer Bailey said:
“Today more than 3500 banks across 12 countries already support Apple Pay and we think Cuscal’s customers will really love using Apple Pay for everyday purchases in stores, apps and on the web.”
Cuscal managing director Craig Kennedy, when announcing the deal, called on the big banks and Apple to “find some middle ground” and resolve their dispute.
“I hope that Apple and the banks find some middle ground here because I think it would be everybody’s interest if they found a solution for their current stalemate,” Mr Kennedy said.
“The more people use these services and the more cards that are in there, the more common that it becomes and it lifts everybody.
“Whenever you’ve got a few people doing it, it’s going to hold back the growth and the acceptance of this sort of behaviour. And I don’t think that’s in the interests of any of the parties that are currently in dispute.
“I hope they find a way through all of that.”
While Apple Pay has been available in Australia since November 2015, the service has faced an uphill climb for acceptance in the country, due to the refusal of three of the four largest Australian banks to sign on for the solution. Of the big four, only ANZ has signed on, With Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, and Westpac being the holdouts.
The three holdouts have filed an application with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to negotiate as a group with Apple to get the Cupertino firm to allow them access to the NFC hardware in iPhones. The banks want to offer customers the ability to use the banks’ own digital wallet apps to make payments, rather than being limited to Apple Pay-only. Apple has long refused to allow third-party apps to access the iPhone’s built-in NFC hardware.
Apple fired back at the big three banks, via a three-page submission to the ACCC, saying that providing access to the hardware would diminish the high level of security the hardware offers to its users.
“Apple upholds very high security standards for our customers when they use Apple devices to make payments,” it said. “Providing simple access to the NFC antenna by banking applications would fundamentally diminish the high level of security Apple aims to have on our devices.
“Unfortunately, and based on their limited understanding of the offering, the [banks] perceive Apple Pay as a competitive threat. 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,” said Apple in a document signed by Marg Demmer, a former cards executive at ANZ Banking Group.
ANZ, the other member of the “big four” Australian financial firms, did not join with the other three banks in the ACCC application.