Apple Forces Westpac To Pull Messaging Payment App
Fresh sparks have flown between tech giant Apple and Australia’s local banks, with Westpac claiming that pressure from Apple will soon see the Westpac Keyboard feature – launched in March – pulled from the bank’s official iOS app.
In a letter to customers, Westpac announced that its Westpac Keyboard function will be removed in July, stifling the bank’s efforts to enable customers to make payments from within popular apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat and WeChat.
“This is disappointing for us and the thousands of customers who are currently using it. We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused and thank them for their continued support,” a Westpac spokesperson said.
The move comes in both the aftermath of the ACCC’s staunch refusal to allow local Australian banks to collectively bargain with Apple over the use of the iPhone’s NFC chip and Westpac’s own move to partner with Samsung and their Samsung Pay service.
As originally reported by the Australian Financial Review, the decision to pull the feature came after the bank received a generic explanation letter from Apple, suggested that keyboards should not be able to send money, or that the feature may offend some users.
It’s understood that the Android version of the app is still on the cards.
At the time of writing, Apple has yet to make a wider statement on the news. Some have speculated that the reason behind Apple’s intervention here will pave the way for the company to launch its own in-messenger payment system.
Others have cited security concerns to the driver behind the move.
ChannelNews has reached out to Apple for comment.