Three of Australia’s major banks (National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac), along with Bendigo bank have released a joint statement in response to the Apple Pay submission to the coalition seeking to bargain with the technology provider over the use of its NFC payments technology.
The banks said: “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.
“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 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which said the banks’ argument was a “trojan horse” and suggested their push was driven by a desire to create a new revenue stream rather than achieve better outcomes for customers.
Although a final determination is expected in the next week, the banks were denied the request in a draft determination by the ACCC last year.
Should Apple lose the case, it could flood the tech giant with access requests from other financial service providers. Its Services division is predicted to double its revenue in the next three years, and added A$7.17 billion to the books in the last quarter of 2016.
The Australian Merchants Payments Forum are backing the banks, saying: “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.”