“The ACCC has responded with tentative ‘No’ in a draft ruling, which is expected to be finalized in March.”
No, Australia’s big banks cannot form a cartel to press Apple on allowing them access to iPhone NFC capabilities, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has determined.
The banks – namely Bendigo Bank, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, and Westpac – had asked the ACCC for permission to negotiate with Apple as a bloc this past summer. With Apple seeking to bring its mPayment platform to the country, the banks were trying to retaliate by pressing for access to the iPhones’ NFC system enabling contactless mobile payments; they wanted to get their own mPayment apps running on Apple’s devices, ideally without having to support Apple Pay themselves.
The ACCC has responded with tentative ‘No’ in a draft ruling, which is expected to be finalized in March. Now, the banks can keep resisting and trying to compete against Apple Pay, or they can get on board and offer their support to the platform.
The latter option might be looking more appealing at this point. ANZ, the one major bank to defect from the bloc and support Apply Pay earlier this year, reportedly saw a jump in account applications after doing so. And with Apple Pay continuing to spread around the world, customers are more and more likely to demand such functionality from their banks.