Daily Management Review

Apple Pay Collective Bargaining Request Narrowed Down by Australian Banks


02/13/2017




Apple Pay Collective Bargaining Request Narrowed Down by Australian Banks
Australian banks 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 and are seeking permission from the country's competition regulator to bargain collectively with Apple Inc over its mobile payment system, the banks said in a statement on Monday.
 
Commanding two thirds of the credit card market in Australia yet to allow use of their cards with Apple Pay which was introduced to the country last year are Australian banks such as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp, National Australia Bank Ltd and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd.
 
In such cases of financial agreements, bargaining cartels can be formed with the approval of authorities under Australian law. Noting the first major challenge to Apple Pay of its kind globally is the chance of the banks offering their own digital wallets for Apple's iPhones and a cartel would strengthen the banks in negotiating their ability to make such offers.
 
Apple Pay allows users to pay for goods and services by swiping the devices over contactless payment terminals after getting registered with credit cards on iPhones.
 
Apple does not allow companies to develop their own mobile wallets and charges card providers for transactions made using Apple Pay. With banks developing and offering their own mobile wallets, they would be able to  get customers to engage more frequently with their own apps and would allow banks to circumvent transaction fees charged by Apple Pay.
 
The banks sought to negotiate with Apple over fees as well as access to the contactless payments function in the banks' initial application lodged in July.
 
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) proposed to deny the collective bargaining application in a draft decision issued in November, which it described as "finely balanced".
 
it would be difficult for them to win approval if fees were at the heart of the banks' application, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims had said at the time. He had said that banks had a stronger case however, if the issue was more about access to Apple's contactless payment technology.
 
They had narrowed the application to focus on contactless payments and halved the collective bargaining authorization term to 18 months, the banks on Monday said in a statement ahead of a final decision from the regulator.
 
"It is about the consumer having the choice of multiple wallets," said Lance Blockley, a spokesman for the banks.
 
The banks would be essentially given a "free-ride" on Apple's investment in technology by providing the banks access to its contactless payment system and hence there were no public benefits by providing such access to the banks, Apple said in a submission to the competition regulator on Jan. 31.
 
While Macquarie Group Ltd and ING Groep NV's ING Direct on Friday said they would introduce Apple Pay this month, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd has offered Apple Pay to customers since April among other banks.
 
(Source:www.reuters.com)






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