Australian banks accused of anti-competitive behavior over Apple Pay lockout

While Apple Pay officially launched in Australia last week, the country’s banks are still refusing to link their cards to the digital payment system, prompting calls for the Reserve Bank to examine banks for potential anti-competitive behavior, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Apple’s fees for using the service have been a sticking point in negotiations for months, with the company reportedly demanding the same 15 cents on every $100 of transactions that the company is believed to receive from banks in the U.S., even though banks in Australia make half as much from interchange fees as compared to their U.S. counterparts.
Visa has sided with the banks in Australia, and a story published last month in The Globe and Mail cited sources who said Visa also complicated matters in Canada. The credit card giant is said to be intent on directing users to its own Visa Digital Enablement Program after signing an agreement with Google in May, giving the company no reason to get behind Apple’s push to enter the Australian and Canadian markets. Apple Pay has launched in both countries for customers with non-bank issued American Express cards in the meantime, but Australian Labor party spokesman Ed Husic has asked the Reserve Bank to investigate why the country’s banks have “effectively boycotted” the payment system, saying, “Australian consumers should not be denied the ability to make payment choices that are openly available to consumers globally. No doubt some will argue this move by the banks is anti-competitive – I am certainly concerned that it denies consumer access to a secure, efficient payment platform.” Both the Reserve Bank and Apple declined to comment.


Dan Pye was a news editor at iLounge. He's been involved with technology his whole life, and started writing about it in 2009. He's written about everything from iPhone and iPad cases to Apple TV accessories.