Australia’s competition watchdog rejected a request by four banks to collectively bargain with Apple over access to its Apple Pay payments platform.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued a draft determination “proposing, on balance, to deny” an application by Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp, National Australia Bank, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank to jointly negotiate access to NFC controllers in iPhones to provide their own digital wallets independent of, and in direct competition to, Apple Pay, Seeking Alpha reported. The banks also want to negotiate the fees Apple charges for use of the service.
A final determination is expected in March.
The banks said in a statement that they “remain committed to pursuing a successful outcome that will benefit consumers with greater choice, and allow future innovations in mobile wallets and other NFC powered functions to succeed”.
The four banks applied to the ACCC in July for permission to negotiate collectively with Apple over access to Apple Pay and last month accused Apple of seeking exclusive use of the country’s network of NFC terminals for iOS devices. The banks have argued that 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.
One of the country’s four largest banks, ANZ, however, is not part of the bid looking to negotiate over Apple Pay. It reached an agreement with Apple so its account holders can use its debit and credit cards for payments via Apple Pay.