The three largest banks in Australia — National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp — have partnered up to lodge an antitrust application with regulators in an attempt to collectively negotiate with Apple over whether or not their own in-house electronic payments apps can be set up to run properly on an iPhone.
Currently, Apple does not allow for third-party electronic payments apps on the iPhone to make use of the NFC technology that comes in all models after the 6. The three Australian banks argue that because Apple allows other apps on iPhones to access technological features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, restricting the technology through which mobile wallets function, known as Near Field Technology, constitutes anti-competitive behavior.
The filing represents the latest in a long running struggle between Apple and various FIs down under, as banks are hesitant to surrender their customers to Apple Pay merely because their iPhones won’t give those same customers access to the apps banks have dedicated time and treasure to building out in-house.
Apple offered no immediate comment on the situation.
Lance Blockley, Senior Advisor at banking industry group Novantas and spokesman for all three of the major parties in the suit, said the move is the first challenge by banks aimed at Apple’s mobile payments restrictions.
Australia and New Zealand Bank is the only of the country’s ‘Big Four’ banks not to get in on the fight, likely due to the fact that they became the first Australian bank to sign on to Apple Pay in early April.