Australian banks hit back at Apple over NFC access

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 18 October, 2016

Australian banks hit back at Apple over NFC access

Australian banks have struck back at Apple’s claims that allowing third-party access to newer iOS devices’ NFC function would undermine security or the customer experience.

A group of four banks — Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac — petitioned the ACCC earlier this year seeking authorisation to enter joint negotiations with providers of third-party mobile wallets.

Now the banks have responded to what they say are a range of incorrect and potentially misleading submissions to the ACCC opposing the request.

In a response to the opposing submission, the banks clarified that the application to enter joint negotiations is restricted to negotiations with Apple, and that these negotiations would be over access to the NFC function on iOS devices.

While Apple has claimed that allowing the banks third-party access to the NFC function would be detrimental to security and the user experience, the banks countered that Android, Windows and BlackBerry devices all provide access to NFC functions in line with global contactless payment security standards.

The banks also argued that the security claims regarding Apple Pay are exaggerated, and that Australia already has an advanced, secure and convenient contactless payments environment.

To support the application the banks have argued that Australian consumers should have the right to choose which mobile wallet to use, regardless of the device they own.

“Our application remains focused on providing Australian consumers with real choice and better outcomes for mobile payments, mobile wallets and a range of other potentially NFC-powered functions such as public transport, airlines, store loyalty and rewards programs, and many more applications yet to be developed,” payments specialist Lance Blockley said.

“This is about the future of mobile payments in Australia. Will it be ‘Apple’s way or no way’, or a genuine level playing field so all consumers can have the best digital services, no matter what device they own.”

The banks also rejected accusations that they submitted the application in an attempt to delay or prevent Apple Pay from coming to Australia.

Image courtesy of iphonedigital under CC

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