By Cameron Abbott and Rebecca Murray
It is not often that any one of Australia’s ‘Big Four’ banks find that they are too small to influence the shaping of new payment technology in Australia. However, three of Australia’s largest financial institutions have chosen to join forces in applying to the ACCC seeking authorisation to enter into joint negotiations with Apple Inc to install their own electronic payment applications on iPhones. The application to the ACCC can be seen here.
As yet, Apple, which operates its own lucrative Apple Pay electronic payment application, does not allow third-party electronic payment apps to be loaded onto iPhones. The applicants, National Australia Bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp and the smaller Adelaide Bank and Bendigo Bank contend that restricting the technology through which iPhone mobile wallets function, known as Near Field Technology, equates to anti-competitive behaviour.
In a joint statement, the banks state that they ‘want to ensure that Australian consumers can make payments easily through their choice of mobile wallet providers, have access to the latest developments in contactless payment technology, and can benefit from common security standards across the mobile payment system.’ The joint statement can be seen here.
ANZ is conspicuously absent from the joint application having ‘blinked first’ by agreeing to give Apple a nice cut of the action in Australia by using Apple Pay.