Australia's Big Banks Change their Tactic against Apple over Apple Pay in a way that could Hand them a Legal Victory
Apple Pay VP Jennifer Bailey said in an interview last week that "Australians are using Apple Pay more frequently each month than any customers in other countries, which is in large part due to Australia being a recognized global leader in contactless payments and usage." Apple's VP went on to say that Apple is so confident of the supremacy of its payments system that "customers will say they are happy to switch banks to use it." More importantly, Ms Bailey accused the banks holding out on joining Apple Pay – Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, Westpac Banking Corp and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, who control two-thirds of Australian cardholders – of paying lip service to acting in the best interests of their customers.
Last Night Reuters reported that Australian banks seeking permission from the country's competition regulator to bargain collectively with Apple over its mobile payment system said on Monday they will focus on gaining access to the U.S. tech company's contactless payment function, removing the fees Apple charges as a bone of contention.
That's an important shift in their strategy and one that may sway the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to favor their request to force Apple to negotiate. The Commission while denying the banks to do so back in November, all but spelled out what the banks had to do in order to win their case against Apple. Whether that was legal or not is irrelevant now, because the banks followed the advice of the commission which could be enough to give them the win they seek against Apple.
The commission told the banks that if the issue was more about access to Apple's contactless payment technology, instead of fees, then the banks had a stronger case. Their legal team has now followed that advice and so it would appear the fix is isn to turn the tide against Apple in the commission's final decision.
Reuters reports that "In a statement ahead of a final decision from the regulator, the banks on Monday said they had narrowed the application to focus on contactless payments and halved the collective bargaining authorization term to 18 months.
The three big banks challenging Apple command two-thirds of Australia's credit card market but have yet to allow use of their cards with Apple Pay which was introduced to the country last year."
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