The battle between Apple and the major Australian banks is far from over. Even though the institutions do their best to prevent customers from using Apple Pay, the technology giant is not making things easy. The Australian competition watchdog is currently reviewing the submissions made by the parties, but a decision will not be made anytime soon.
NFC payments are a topic of significant debate in Australia. Three of the country’s four major banks want consumers to use their proprietary apps. In a way, the are actively boycotting the future success of Apple Pay in Australia. But that idea is not going according to plan, as they applied for a collective bargaining agreement with Apple. NFC access will not be exclusive to either party, and some level of collaboration will be required.
Apple Wins The First Battle In A Long War
This is good news for the technology giant, who wants nothing more than work together with these banks. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac, and National Australia Bank are not all too happy about this scenario, though. Together with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, these three institutions wanted to boycott Apple Pay. Moreover, they want to prevent any third-party NFC payment provider from gaining any traction in the country.
The Australian competition watchdog stated the following:
“The ACCC has considered interim authorisation within a short timeframe at the request of the applicants. However, given the complexity of the issues and the limited time available, the ACCC has decided not to grant interim authorisation at this time. The ACCC requires more time to consult and consider the views of industry, consumers, and other interested parties.”
Competition in the payments market is good for both retailers and consumers. Banks colluding to boycott payment solutions they cannot control may come to bite them in the rear. Apple pay is a significant “threat” regarding market share, but competition should not be harmed in the process.
It will take a few more weeks, if not months until the ACCC comes to a decision. A tentative draft decision is expected by October 2016. Do keep in mind that ruling may not be the official “verdict” regarding this matter, though. No interim authorisation has been granted to either party for the time being.
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