Australian Banks Denied Temporary Approval For Apple Negotiations

The ruling is in from Australia’s anti-trust regulator – and it looks like the ongoing war between Apple and the nation’s largest banks over payments apps will carry on with a bit less teamwork on the banks’ side.

The regulator has officially ruled that the country’s three biggest banks may not – in the interim – collectively negotiate with Apple on the installation of their individual payment apps on iPhones.  National Australia Bank (NAB) last month lodged a joint application seeking permission to negotiate as a bloc from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

“The ACCC has considered interim authorization within a short time frame at the request of the applicants,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“However, given the complexity of the issues and the limited time available, the ACCC has decided not to grant interim authorization at this time. The ACCC requires more time to consult and consider the views of industry, consumers, and other interested parties.”

The ACCC has said that this decision will not affect the choice they will make on the issue – in total – later this year (probably October).

Apple does not allow third-party electronic payment apps to be loaded onto their hugely popular smartphones. The banks wish to negotiate with Apple to change that policy – however, doing it as a bloc could put them at risk for anti-trust issues. All three banks complain that Apple’s having effectively locked mobile payments functionality behind its NFC wallet functions as an anti-trust violation.

A spokesman for the banks said they would continue their ongoing consultations with the ACCC until the final determination is made.

Apple had no comment.


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