The Australian banks have been denied permission to act as a monopolistic cartel in the country, preventing them from negotiating collectively with Apple over Apple Pay terms for the time being as reported by Reuters. Australian banks are resisting adoption of Apple’s mobile payment solution (available in iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s), referring to hefty fees and loss of customer control.
Apple says that the banks are being anti-competitive by blocking the introduction of innovative payment technologies like Apple Pay. The banks want to force Apple to open up the NFC chip to third-party developers, which Apple says would cripple the security standards of its platform.
This ruling by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is an interim judgement, however, and holds little bearing over the final decision expected to be made in October. The commission acts conservatively with interim judgements and will always turn down decisions that are complicated. It was deemed that the Apple Pay case is sufficiently complicated that a fast decision cannot be ruled.
In terms of how this impacts Australian customers, it probably means that nothing will change until the final decision is reached. This will leave the Australian banks involved in the case and Apple in a stalemate situation as they await a final judgement on what is permissible by Australian competition law. Do not expect mass Apple Pay adoption by banks in the country until November, at the earliest.
Right now, Australian customers can use Apple Pay with select American Express and ANZ cards. Apple Pay has been pretty successful in other markets where the service has been picked up by all major banks in the regions. Apple Pay added three more banks for UK customers just yesterday.
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