Apple's relationship with Australia's banks has always been fraught. One of Australia's largest, Westpac, has been dealt a further blow — with Apple ordering it to remove the ability for Westpac customers to send cash using an innovative keyboard app.
Reported by the Australian Financial Review, a letter to Westpac customers says that the Westpac Keyboard functionality in its mobile banking app will be removed from iOS in July, hamstringing the ability for users to make payments and send funds through other apps like FaceBook Messenger or Snapchat.
The latest version of the Westpac banking app on iOS was launched in March, and has thousands of downloads and installations from the bank's customers on the platform. Apple's reason for forcing Westpac to cut the functionality isn't immediately clear, but suggests the Cupertino giant is likely close to launching its own similar keyboard app with Apple Pay, or a similar service with Australia's banks on board, integrated.
Security concerns around the unintended sending of payments could also be responsible for the halt, but Apple has approved similar mobile keyboard apps from Indian and Spanish banks, and the technology itself was developed by Israeli company PayKey. The AFR says one of Westpac's goals in launching the payments keyboard was to attract and retain younger customers
A Westpac spokesperson said "This is disappointing for us and the thousands of customers who are currently using it. We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused and thank them for their continued support." Westpac says it's working on a similar feature for Android, and that ti will be available soon. [AFR]