If you’re wondering why Apple Pay is as yet only available for Amex cards in Australia, it’s not because Apple isn’t working hard enough to introduce it there: it’s because Australian banks are refusing to sign up for it. The opposition Labor Party spokesman on digital innovation is now suggesting that this refusal may constitute anti-competitive behavior, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Reserve Bank has been urged to examine potential anti-competitive behaviour in the emerging card-free payments market amid claims the banks have frozen out newcomer Apple Pay […]

“Australian consumers should not be denied the ability to make payment choices that are openly available to consumers globally,” Ed Husic wrote. “No doubt some will argue this move by the banks is anti-competitive – I am certainly concerned that it denies consumer access to a secure, efficient payment platform.”

As we reported back in August, one big sticking point is fees … 

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U.S. banks typically take a 1% commission on card purchases, so they make $1 on a $100 transaction. Of this $1, Apple takes 15c. Australian banks, in contrast, would make only 50c on the same transaction, but Apple still wants 15c of it.

A second issue is that Australia is a very advanced market for mobile payment, and banks there already have their own mobile payment apps. They argue that consumers are therefore not losing out.

A third is that while MasterCard is keen to sign up for Apple Pay, Visa is reportedly happy with its existing mobile payment arrangements with the banks.

The Herald reports that the Reserve Bank declined to comment.

Apple is working to continue the international rollout of Apple Pay, with China the big prize. It was reported earlier this week that Apple had reached its first crucial agreement there in readiness for a planned February launch.

Via CoM

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