Four Australian banks accused Apple of seeking exclusive use of the country’s network of NFC terminals for iOS devices.
The allegation featured in a joint statement made by Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the country’s antitrust regulator.
The banks account for three of the country’s four largest banks (Bendigo and Adelaide Bank is the odd one out).
Earlier this year, the four applied to the ACCC, the country’s antitrust regulator, for permission to negotiate collectively with Apple over access to Apple Pay.
The ACCC has yet to rule in this matter.
In the meantime, the four banks have put out a statement to counter “incorrect and potentially misleading submissions” made to the ACCC by their opponents.
The banks argue by wanting to lock out any independent access to the NFC function on its devices, Apple aims to gain exclusive access to the network of NFC-based terminals in retailers across Australia.
“Yet, this infrastructure was built and paid for by Australian banks and merchants for the benefit of all Australians,” said the statement.
In addition, the banks attack Apple’s claim that providing access to NFC on iOS devices would weaken security or customer experience. They said Android, Windows and BlackBerry devices all offer access to NFC “in line with global standards of security for contactless payments set out by the card schemes.”
There is “no evidence” for saying Android Pay or Samsung Pay (Apple Pay’s main rivals) have negatively affected security, the statement said.
Also, the four banks claim that the issue of competitive access raised by them is not unique to Australia. However, few if any other countries have seen such a stubborn resistance to Apple from its leading financial institutions.
However, the only one of the big four banks in Australia not included in the application to the ACCC is ANZ, which has been content to reach agreement with Apple so that its account holders can use its debit and credit cards for payments via Apple Pay.