A consortium of leading banks in Australia are developing mobile payments platform Beem in an apparent bid to compete with new companies entering the finance sector, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Beem is being created by an independent company founded by The Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac – three of the largest banks in the country.
Along with several rivals, the trio were involved in a lengthy spat with the Australian competition regulator over being able to jointly negotiate access to the iPhone’s NFC chip with Apple – a case they eventually lost.
Beem will not directly compete with Apple Pay on NFC point of sale purchases, but will offer person-to-person (P2P) services and is expected to be marketed on the ability to split bills in restaurants and pay tradespeople.
Although specific service details and development timelines are still under wraps, the report confirmed the app would be made available on both Android and iOS handsets.
The development of a cross-bank mobile payment initiative in Australia fits with a trend being seen across a number of markets around the world, as traditional financial service providers look to protect existing revenue streams from new players in the payments sector.