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Australian Banks “Disappointed” With Apple Pay Ruling

With the ACCC now having denied authorization for collective bargaining to the Australian banks seeking to wrest control of the iPhone’s NFC chip from Apple, the future of digital wallets is looking a little more binary.

The four banks behind the application – Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, and Westpac – have responded to the ruling with a unifying tone of disappointment.

Lance Blockley, speaking for the banks said that “this case has always been about consumer choice.  The applicants made this application to seek to ensure they could participate in the future of mobile wallets, and not have the course of development for mobile wallets in Australia dictated by a single overseas corporation.”

Blockley says that “the application attracted strong support from many of Australia’s leading retailers and other financial institutions who also recognise the public benefits of open NFC access, and the subsequent flow on benefits for mobile wallet innovation and competition in Australia.”

He thanked the ACCC for their time and diligence in reviewing the bank’s application, recognizing both the imbalance in negotiating positions and the contentous reality of the issue.

Still, “we are disappointed that the finely balanced draft determination was not tipped in the final decision, given our considerable effort to demonstrate the public benefits inherent in open NFC access, and the subsequent flow on benefits for mobile wallet innovation and competition in Australia.”

“Apple has a stated desire to own the entire mobile wallet, and will use the beachhead into mobile wallets afforded to them by complete control over mobile payments on iPhone to exert control over the rest of the digital wallet.  This in our view is aimed at increasing the services revenue they can earn from iPhone users,” he said.

Looking forward, the coalition of banks say they “will individually review and determine their future strategy for mobile wallets and mobile payments in order to best serve their customers.”

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