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Banks Narrow Apple Pay Application Ahead Of ACCC Ruling

In a submission published by the ACCC, the coalition of banks (NAB, Westpac, Commonwealth and Bendigo Bank) currently applying for permission with collectively bargain with Apple over use of the iPhone’s NFC chip has hit back against claims its efforts are a “trojan horse” to establish new revenue streams, dismissing them as “conspiracy theories” and “fantasy”.

In their submission, the banks insist that open access to the NFC function on iPhone is required to enable real choice and real competition for consumers, and to facilitate innovation and investment in the digital wallets available to Australians.

They argue that the public benefits of competition in the area outweigh the criticisms their case has previously weathered.

According to the banks, “it appears that the Draft Determination fails to take into account the public benefit that would result from an increase in competition in mobile payment services.”

They say that without open NFC access on iPhone, no genuine competition in the provision of mobile wallets is possible and Apple will have a stranglehold on this strategically important future market.

In response to concerns previously raised by both the ACCC and third-parties, the banks have proposed removing a number of contentious clauses in their original application.

They are now only seeking only 18 months of authorisation and no longer seeks collective negotiation on the potential to pass-through the additional fees Apple wishes to impose on the payment system.

According to them, their focus is now only on negotiating with Apple in order to open up access to the NFC chip.

“The applicants are ready, willing, and able to participate in Apple Pay, alongside being able to offer their customers their own mobile wallet products,” payments specialist and spokesperson on behalf of the applicants, Lance Blockley said.

The publication of the submissions follows on from a media war between the two parties last week, with the banks hitting back against Apple’s claims while Apple brought ING Direct and Macquarie Bank customers under its wing.

The ACCC is expected to make a final ruling on the matter later this month.

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