Close to 4 million Australians will be able to access Apple Pay in the not-too-distant future, thanks to a partnership between Apple and payments company Cuscal.
According to a report, greater than 30 credit unions and small banks announced Wednesday (Nov. 9) their customers will soon be able to use Apple Pay as a payment method. The move comes as Apple and the big banks in Australia fight it out over offering Apple Pay.
“I hope that Apple and the banks find some middle ground here because I think it would be everybody’s interest if they found a solution for their current stalemate,” Cuscal Managing Director Craig Kennedy said in the report. “The more people use these services and the more cards that are in there, the more common that it becomes, and it lifts everybody. Whenever you’ve got a few people doing it, it’s going to hold back the growth and the acceptance of this sort of behavior. And I don’t think that’s in the interests of any of the parties that are currently in dispute. I hope they find a way through all of that.”
According to the report, Credit Union Australia, Bank Australia, Teachers Mutual Bank Limited and People’s Choice Credit Union will offer Apple Pay.
This past summer, the three largest banks in Australia — National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Westpac Banking Corp — 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 anticompetitive behavior. The filing represented 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.