Apple is still locking horns with Australia’s major banks as the company negotiates to extend the presence of its mPayment platform in the country.
Apple Pay recently launched in the country, but, as was in the case in its Canadian debut, it started with only American Express support. That’s because Amex issues its own cards and is therefore not subject to the same regulations faced by card-issuing banks. But unlike the Canadian situation, in Australia the rollout could stall here: The fees that Australian banks can charge on card transactions are capped at a lower level than those in countries like the US, but Apple wants the same flat slice of 15 cents on the dollar that it gets in the US – a condition that Australia’s major banks are unwilling to accept.
Another part of their recalcitrance comes from the already widespread use of mobile, contactless payment in the country, much of it pioneered by the banks themselves. In a new report, Reuters notes that last year contactless payments comprised 22 percent of all in-person purchases, adding that an anonymous source from one of the banks “said Apple did not understand the market and was trying to fill a gap that does not exist.”
Meanwhile, a Labor Party politician who recently suggested that the banks’ stance could be anti-competitive now says that as the stalemate continues, an investigation into the issue becomes more likely, telling Reuters, “If it drags on, I think the drum beat for that type of action will grow.”