Apple Pay’s foray into Australia has been met with roadblocks from the largest banks in the country, as they claimed Apple’s business practice was anticompetitive. The banks are demanding access to the NFC hardware built-in to the iPhone for use with their own mobile payments system. Apple refused to allow access, and an Australian court is expected to rule in Apple’s favor in March.
Despite its expected court victory, Apple is continuing to wage its war of words with the banks. Bloomberg reports:
In its latest submission to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, published Monday, Apple said it was concerned banks are seeking to “delay the expansion of Apple Pay,” hurting both consumers and smaller card issuers who could use the technology “as a means of securing a digital presence in competition with the big banks.”
Apple Says Third-Party Access to NFC Would Undermine Security
Apple says the banks’ opposition to its launch of Apple Pay in Australia hurts both consumers and merchants who would like to make use of the payments service. The Cupertino firm claims allowing third-party access to the iPhone’s NFC capabilities would undermine security, as well as the simplicity of the device.
In a draft ruling in December, the ACCC refused to grant the banks — Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank Ltd., Westpac Banking Corp. and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd. — permission to negotiate collectively. The final ruling is expected in March. Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. isn’t a party to the action, having decided in April to accept Apple Pay.
Banks Say They Want to Provide “Real Choice”
The banks, who are seeking the ability to negotiate with Apple as a group, say the case has never been about preventing Apple Pay from being used in Australia but has always been about “providing real choice and real competition for consumers and facilitating innovation and investment in the digital wallet functionality available to Australians.”
While the holdout banks have slowed Apple Pay’s widespread adoption down under, there is support available for the contactless payment service in the country. Currently Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., American Express, and numerous smaller banks and credit unions offer Apple Pay support to their customers.