The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on Friday denied a request by the country’s big-three banks to gain authorization to collectively bargain with Apple to gain access to the iPhone’s NFC technology, used by Apple Pay.
Today’s decision follows an initial draft determination that denied a proposal to negotiate filed by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp, along with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.
“The ACCC is not satisfied, on balance, that the likely benefits from the proposed conduct outweigh the likely detriments. We are concerned that the proposed conduct is likely to reduce or distort competition in a number of markets,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
The chairman continued, saying that while granting the banks such authorization would put them in a more favorable position to bargain, “benefits would be outweighed by detriments.”
Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp, along with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, in July filed an application to negotiate terms over Apple Pay services. The banks were interested in gaining access to the NFC chip in the iPhone, which is used exclusively for Apple’s Apple Pay contactless payments system.
If the application had proved successful, it would have allowed the banks – which jointly have two-thirds of the Australian credit card market – to collectively boycott Apple Pay for up to three years as a negotiating tactic.
Apple does not allow third-party access to the NFC chip. The banks argued having access to the hardware would allow them to bring their own digital wallet systems to the device, which they had contended would bring competition to the mobile payments market.