Apple has taken the gloves off in its fight with Australian banks it says are opposed to the emergence in the country of Apple Pay, its biometrically secured mobile wallet. In its latest filing to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, the company argues that the banks are trying to “delay or even block” Apple Pay in Australia.
It’s the latest in a dispute that is ostensibly about who gets to use iPhone technology. Anticipating the emergence of Apple Pay in the country, Bendigo Bank, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, and Westpac all sought to compel Apple to allow them to access the NFC technology of its iPhone, which would allow them to enable contactless mobile payments – like those of Apple Pay – using their own mobile apps. To that end, they applied to the ACCC for permission to negotiate with Apple as a bloc, with Apple resisting on the grounds that allowing access to its iPhone’s NFC technology would compromise the iPhone’s security.
Now, Apple is dropping the pretence and suggesting that all this is really about is the banks’ trying to stop Apple Pay from getting a foothold in Australia, while trying to “free-ride on the significant investments” Apple has made into this mPayment technology. It appears to be a final, forceful push as the ACCC considers the finalization of a draft ruling it issued in December, which determined that the banks couldn’t form a cartel to negotiate with Apple.
Meanwhile, Australia’s other major bank, ANZ, was an early supporter of Apple Pay, and has reportedly seen some substantial interest in the service among its customers.