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Australia’s largest banks unite to challenge Apple Pay

ICE Graveyard 26/07/2016 Jon Russell

A number of Australia’s largest banks have come together to challenge Apple and its Apple Pay service in the country.

Apple’s digital payments solution landed in Australia in April with Samsung Pay and Android Pay following thereafter, but the banks are unhappy that — unlike the latter two services — they are unable to rival Apple Pay by offering their own digital payments service for iPhone-owning customers. That’s because Apple outlaws third-party digital payment solutions on iOS, instead preferring to integrate banks and payment providers into Apple Pay.

National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac — the one, two and three lenders respectively — and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank filed an application with the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission seeking permission to collectively negotiate with Apple to enable their respective services without violating anti-competition laws.

Just one major bank, ANZ (Australia and New Zealand Bank), partnered with Apple for Apple Pay in Australia and, unsurprisingly, it isn’t part of this complaint.

Here’s the summary of the submission, which was first reported by Reuters:

The applicants seek authorisation on behalf of themselves and potentially other credit and debit card issuers to engage in limited collective negotiation with providers of third-party mobile wallet services on conditions relating to competition, best practice standards, and efficiency and transparency. The applicants also seek authorisation to enter into a limited form of collective boycott in relation to a third-party mobile wallet provider while collective negotiations with that provider are ongoing.

Apple did not reply to our request for comment.

This appears to be the first action of this kind against Apple and Apply Pay. The U.S. firm has generally had success bringing banking partners to the service. It began with just six in the U.S. where it now covers 2,500 bank locations, while in China the 12 partners it launched with in February is now at 19.

Apple Pay is currently available in nine countries: the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, China, Singapore, Switzerland, France and Hong Kong. Back in May, Jennifer Bailey, VP of Apple Pay, told us that the company was working “rapidly” to launch in more countries, and a number of those launches have occurred since her comments.

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