Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac have lodged an application with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for the green light to have joint negotiations with providers of third-party mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay.
The banks say they want to ensure that Australian consumers can make payments "easily, through their choice of mobile wallet providers", as well as have access to the latest developments in contactless payment technology, and benefit from common security standards across the mobile payment system.
"Consumers will benefit if they can choose the best mobile wallet that suits their own needs using their own devices," the application states. "That way all consumers could have access to new features, apps and technologies developed by the makers of different mobile wallets."
Novantas Senior Advisor Lance Blockley, speaking on behalf of the banks says this is about providing Australians with "real choice and better outcomes".
"If successful, the application would have tremendous benefits for the entire Australian mobile payments landscape including for public transport fares, airlines, ticketing, store loyalty and rewards programs and many more applications yet to be developed," Blockley said.
The application does not request authorisation to enter joint negotiations on the amount of fees or charges, meaning financial institutions are responsible for individually negotiating contractual arrangements with wallet providers.
Australia is at the forefront of contactless card payments, which have been well accepted by consumers and merchants. The lobby group says the negotiations, if successful, will ensure that consumers and merchants can be confident that Australia has a competitive, innovative and transparent system of mobile payments, including third-party wallets.
With major public transport systems in Australia soon to begin trials of open loop contactless payment technology, the time is pressing for consumers to be offered a choice of mobile wallet providers, according to the group of banks.
If the application is granted, other businesses and institutions can join negotiations if they believe it would benefit their customers.