ACCC Won't Grant Aussie Banks' Collective Bargaining For Apple Pay Straight Away

Image: ANZ/Apple

Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, NAB and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank have suffered a minor setback in their journey to jointly negotiate with Apple to bargain down the mobile giant's payment fees -- or collectively boycott the service if they don't get the result they want -- with ACCC withholding an interim authorisation for the coalition to go ahead with the process.

In Australia, both ANZ and American Express have partnered with Apple to offer Apple Pay since the service launched in late November, with American Express the launch partner and ANZ coming on board in April. Other banks, though, are petitioning the ACCC for the right to negotiate with Apple as a group. A joint negotiation would -- in theory -- allow these banks to use their collective power to bargain lower interchange fees and operating costs -- a point of contention for Apple's payment platform versus Samsung Pay, Android Pay and some banks' own homegrown Android-based NFC apps.

The coalition of banks released a short statement, reiterating the potential of the application, saying that their negotiation would add much-needed competition, and would open up Apple's NFC chip for banks to make their own apps outside of Apple Pay. "The ACCC today has determined they need more time to review the application and consult third parties, before making a draft determination. The applicants (Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac) have been in consultation, and will continue to be in consultation with the ACCC up until the final determination is made.

"This application seeks to ensure that Australian customers are able to choose between different mobile wallets to make payments easily. This application has broader industry benefits too. A number of other Australian institutions have supported the ACCC granting the authorisation, including Heritage Bank, Tyro and Indue." A recent submission to the ACCC from Australian Settlements Ltd strongly supports the collective's position. The ACCC expects to release its draft decision in October. [ACCC]

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