ACCC Decline Bargaining Request By Banks Over Apple Pay – For Now
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have declined to grant the request for interim authorisation of collective bargaining by Australia’s big banks – Commonwealth, Westpac, NAB and Bendigo Bank – to negotiate with Apple over the tech giant’s Apple Pay platform.
“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,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“The ACCC requires more time to consult and consider the views of industry, consumers, and other interested parties.”
The intent of the banks’ collective efforts is to force Apple to allow digital wallet applications outside of Apple Pay access to the iPhone’s NFC and Radio chip technology.
The ruling falls in line with comments by industry experts that allowing to the banks to form a cartel could have major implications for customers and small businesses.
The banks insist their petition for collective bargaining is one driven by a desire to open up the iPhones NFC chip technology and develop appropriate industry standards for digital wallets affecting their ability to pass on any fees charged by a third party digital wallet provider.
Apple’s own spokesperson asserted that the banks are only “wanting to maintain complete control over their customers” and that “the present application is only the latest tactic employed by these competing banks to blunt Apple’s entry into the Australian market.”
Even with major public agencies like Service NSW adopting digital payment mechanisms like Google Pay in recent days, the decision by the Australian regulator represents a major flashpoint for digital wallet applications.
If Apple wins the rulings, it could stifle the ability of the banks to pursue customers on iOS smartphones and potentially push them towards a stronger partnership with Google’s Android OS if they want to continue to develop their digital wallet initiatives.
However, if Apple loses the case, it would impact their ability to deny similar requests from banks globally.
Such a ruling would bode poorly for the Cupertino firm, which has recently begun to slip in market share and faces increased competition from companies like Samsung and HTC.
The final of the four big banks – ANZ – has thus far remained isolated from the proceedings, having already inked a deal with Apple over Apply Pay in April.
Earlier today a spokesperson on behalf of the applicant banks, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac, released the following statement in response to the ruling.
“The ACCC today has determined they need more time to review the application and consult third parties, before making a draft determination. The applicants (Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac) have been in consultation, and will continue to be in consultation with the ACCC up until the final determination is made.”
“This application seeks to ensure that Australian customers are able to choose between different mobile wallets to make payments easily. This application has broader industry benefits too. A number of other Australian institutions have supported the ACCC granting the authorisation, including Heritage Bank, Tyro and Indue.”