Aussie banks give ground in Apple Pay stoush

Big Banks tell the ACCC We’re ok with Apple Pay Fees – we want NFC access

	The battle continues

Big Banks tell the ACCC We’re ok with Apple Pay Fees – we want NFC access The battle continues

Previously, the coalition of banks also sought to challenge Apple on Apple Pay due to the service's fees.

In their filing to the ACCC, the banks said they all pledged to participate in the roll-out of Apple Pay in Australia in return for being granted access to the iPhone's near-field communications antenna - the technology that makes payments on contactless readers possible.

In a submission to the competition regulator on January 31, Apple said there were no public benefits to providing the banks access to its contactless payment system, and that doing so would give them a "free-ride" on Apple's investment in technology.

In a statment, Australian banks explain that opening up the NFC chip is more valuable than the high fee charges. According to the banks, full access to NFC on iPhone devices "would enable the delivery of substantial public benefits to Australian consumers", across a variety of categories other than mobile payments, including loyalty programs, member security, and other NFC-related cases. Thus having more options in terms of customer choice for payment methods.

"This application has always been about consumer choice, and allowing competition between the makers of mobile wallets to offer the best products and features they can to determine which mobile wallet consumers will use". Any delay or frustration will be as a result of Apple refusing to negotiate. Apple's "conspiracy theories" are "fantasy", the banks said in an accompanying e-mailed statement Monday.

"Apple is completely wrong in its assertion that the proposed conduct is about fees and not about access".

In December, the Commission issued its provisional ruling, coming down in support of Apple and expressing concerns that a ruling in favour of the banks could reduce or distort competition in a number of markets.

Apple believes that this argument is merely lip service, given the banks now have embedded NFC radio access on Android devices that Apple said they have not utilised.

The banks stand to lose millions in fees from Apple, as it will take a cut of what they collect from credit card companies when customers pay on credit. NFC technology is inside every modern smartphone, and all contactless capable credit and debit cards.

"The application seeks permission to jointly negotiate with Apple; this is not an attempt to delay Apple Pay from entering the Australian market".

"The [ACCC's] Draft Determination acknowledges that without NFC access, Apple Pay would remain the only NFC mobile payment service that can be used on Apple devices", the submission states.

"Apple is not a bank or a credit card scheme, and Apple can not on their own complete a mobile payment, Blockley continues. Nor are the applicants manufacturers of mobile phones - both parties need each other to bring strong mobile payment offerings to the market", Blockley added.

"This is not open to negotiation with any bank", the company said in a submission past year. Particularly in a relatively small market like Australia, the banks said that larger addressable market provided by NFC access on the iPhone platform increases the incentives to invest, and would reduce the cost and risk of failure and enhance the likely chances of success.

Latest News