Apple Pay: Banks ask for help from ACCC in fight over digital payments
The big four banks are used to being the big guys in town, but Apple is bigger than all of them combined.
Apple has made its name and fortune on a closed system and Apple Pay, a mobile payment service and digital wallet, is another platform that does not connect with the systems of other providers.
That has become the sticking point with the banks, which have been developing their own ‘e-wallet’ offerings that Apple is refusing to accept.
“This is what they’re concerned about. It’s not really about consumer choice. It’s about maintaining their monopoly position on these interchange fees and maintaining control of their consumers,” said Dr David Glance from the Centre for Software Practice at the University of Western Australia.
Now a group of banks – including the Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac – are banding together in a fight over the lucrative $3 billion a year in fees that are charged for processing credit and debit card transactions.
“This is a battle for payments in Australia and how consumers will make payments at retail outlets and the revenue it generates for the banks,” said Foad Fadaghi, the head of IT research house, Telsyte.
“Apple has around 8 million customers already in Australia. This is a sizeable base of people who are actively using its services.
“It makes sense for Apple to try to sell those people additional services.”
The banks want the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to give them permission to negotiate as one with Apple or, in other words, to form a cartel.
In a submission to the ACCC, Apple argued the banks “wanted to maintain complete control over their customers”.
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