With the ACCC’s interim decision not to grant the big banks permission to act as a “cartel” and negotiate together as a block with “third-party” wallet providers like Apple Pay behind us, it’s now over to the ACCC to make a formal decision which we expect in October. Leading up to and feeding into that decision, Apple has submitted its full response to the ACCC and it’s pretty telling.
Put simply, if the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) grant’s the Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac (Along with other smaller banks) permission to negotiate together – more than 66% of Australian’s will never get access to Apple Pay.
It’s a 21 page submission, but this part for me is quite telling. And very frank from Apple too. What this tells us in a short summary is just what the Banks want, and the fact that Apple “will not and cannot” agree to these terms.
Put simply, if the ACCC allows the banks to work together and boycott Apple Pay – we’re not going to get it in banks other than ANZ and American Express.
And no matter what you think – lets look at this as a consumer – why should the banks be allowed to charge fees because we choose one method of payment over another – regardless of the cost – it’s about user convenience. Why should Apple agree to security terms that are different to anything else they have in the world – and critically different to those placed upon a bank’s own mobile app.
Finally, point 2 above, access to the NFC radio. This is the one point I’d like to think Apple could or might budge on, if not now – then soon.
That NFC radio is great for tap and go, but it’s also great for Bluetooth Pairing, location tagging and a whole host of awesome things, things Apple is effectively restricting App Developers from accessing.
I’d like to think that as a first port of call Apple would approve any third-party access to the NFC. Down the track perhaps it opens further.
Deep down, I think that would please the banks. That’s what lets them use the phone for their own app in the same way they can on Android. Time will tell.
Of the 21 pages, the two pages of Executive Summary are important reading – the detail that follows is crucial for the ACCC, but for anyone interested in getting a sense of Apple’s view, in particular on the historic nature of any decision it’s all there
A cartel is a big deal – granting that provision would be phenomenal
And the ACCC has never authorised a boycott. We’ll know in October how they see the situation. The pre-interim decision submissions from payment providers were compelling, just one from a member of public.
I will disclose that late last week I sent my own submission to the ACCC. No surprises that I think granting this Boycott and Cartel permission would be to the detriment of the Australian Public, and my submission detailed that.