Apple intensified an ongoing row with a consortium of Australian banks over the use of the iPhone NFC feature for payments, ahead of the regulator’s final judgement in March.
The US company on Monday filed a fresh sumbission with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) accusing the banks of trying to “delay or even block” its payment system in Australia, Bloomberg reported. Apple argued barring its service would hurt consumers and smaller card issuers.
Following the latest accusation, the banking consortium released its own statement reiterating its priority was to facilitate choice and competition for consumers, not to block Apple Pay.
The war of words comes a month before the ACCC is due to make its final decision on whether the group – made up of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac, National Australia Bank, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank – are allowed to jointly negotiate direct access to the NFC controllers in iPhones. This would enable them to provide their own alternative wallet services.
In a heated debate, the banks argued Apple wants to gain exclusive access to NFC payment terminals in Australia to grow use of its service, while Apple maintained the banks were trying to avoid paying fees to use its service. Apple also argued giving direct access to the NFC chip would undermine the security of its system.
A provisional ACCC report, released in December, concluded the banks should not be allowed to negotiate a block deal with the smartphone manufacturer.
Australia’s other major bank, ANZ already negotiated its own deal with Apple so its users can use its debit and credit cards on the platform.