A joint statement has been issued on behalf of Westpac, NAB, CBA and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank regarding the consortium’s application to the ACCC on mobile wallet restrictions.
Australians should be able to choose any mobile wallet for mobile payments regardless of their mobile device, according to a joint application to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission from Westpac, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), National Australia Bank (NAB) and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.
In response to an earlier application to the ACCC seeking authorisation to enter joint negotiations with providers of third-party mobile wallets, the consortium of major banks will now enter negotiations with the ACCC on the potentially misleading nature of the application.
The banks have called out the ‘Apple’s way or no way’ approach, signalling that it takes away from a potential level playing field of choice for consumers who do not use Apple mobile devices.
The group of banks have raised the following points:
- The application to enter joint negotiations is restricted to negotiations with Apple
- The focus of the negotiation will be over access to the NFC (Near Field Communication) function on iOS device
- By locking out any independent access to the NFC function on iOS devices, Apple is seeking for itself the exclusive use of Australia’s existing NFC terminal infrastructure for the making of integrated mobile payments using iOS devices.
- The infrastructure was built and paid for by Australian banks and merchants for the benefit of all Australian, not only Apple device users.
- Apple’s claim that providing the Applicant’s access to the NFC function would undermine security or customer experience is completely baseless.
- The concerns on competitive access are not unique to Australia, with similar issues raised in a number of jurisdictions across the world.
- The application also focuses on security standards and transparency in fees. Security claims and “benefits” offered to consumers with respect to Apple Pay are exaggerated.
The banks collective statement also expressed the need for the high standards in the Australian digital payments sector to be maintained, and called for consumers who do not use Apple Pay to be released from the burdened of associated costs that do not benefit them.
Companies including Coles Supermarkets, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA), Heritage Bank, Bluechain, Australia Settlements Limited and Tyro have acknowledged their support for the negotiations, while APCA and MasterCard speaking out in favour of ensuring Apply Pay is compliant with security standards.
The ACCC is required to make determination within a six-month period from the date of application.