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Banks Hit Back At Apple ACCC Submission

A statement has been released by the coalition of banks (NAB, Westpac, Commonwealth and Bendigo Bank) currently seeking permission to collectively bargain with Apple over use of the iPhone’s NFC chip in response to Apple’s latest submission to the matter.

They say “the application has never been about preventing Apple Pay from coming to Australia or reducing competition between wallets. It has always been about providing real choice and real competition for consumers and facilitating innovation and investment in the digital wallet functionality available to Australians. Apple’s statement that the application is fundamentally about an objection to the fees that Apple wish to be given rather than NFC access, is incorrect and unsupported.”

According to them, “the applicants will be providing a response to the ACCC’s finely balanced draft decision in the near term further demonstrating the net public benefits of the application.”

“The applicants look forward to the ACCC’s final decision,” they said.

The statement comes in response to Apple’s submission, published by the ACCC earlier today, which characterised the argument made by Australian banks over access to the NFC chip as a “trojan horse” and suggested the bank’s efforts were driven by a desire to create a new revenue stream for themselves rather than achieve better outcomes for customers.

The banking coalition’s initial application was denied in a draft determination by the ACCC last year.

The final determination is expected to be released by the ACCC within the week.

A ruling in the favour of the banks could open the door for a disruption to Apple’s fastest growing business segment. The company’s Services division is set to double its revenue by the end of 2020 and accounted for $7.17 billion in the final quarter of 2016.

That said, in today’s submission Apple did call the request of the banks “futile” and say that even if granted permission to negotiate by the ACCC, they has no plans to cede any ground to the banking coalition.

Submissions have also been published from Tyro Payments and The Australian Merchants Payments Forum.

Tyro’s executive director Jost Stollmann says that “There should be equal bargaining powers between mobile payment providers in Australia because, as we have seen in recent years, disruptive technologies create pathways for better innovation and potential collaboration.”

The Australian Merchants Payments Forum are also standing by the banks, saying that “if authorisation is granted, we believe that the opportunity to collectively negotiate with Apple will benefit not only the applicants but all banks, merchants, app developers and ultimately customers in Australia and overseas” and “we see significant public benefit to the Australian economy of both the further erosion of the use of cash, and the greater use of the existing NFC acceptance infrastructure that allows open access to the NFC function on all makes of smartphone.”

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