Australia’s anti-trust regulator has refused to grant interim approval for the country’s three largest banks to collectively negotiate with Apple to support their own mobile payment apps on the iPhone platform, Reuters reports. The three banks filed a joint application last month requesting permission from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to negotiate as a group to persuade Apple to give them access to its NFC hardware for their own third-party mobile payment apps separately from Apple Pay — a move that Apple noted earlier this month would compromise the iPhone’s security.
When Apple Pay launched in Australia last year, the big three banks in the country refused to jump on board, a move that prompted the Reserve Bank to investigate them for anti-competitive behavior, while the banks themselves have made the argument that it is Apple that is being anti-competitive by locking down its NFC technology which would allow other mobile wallet apps to be used on the device.
The ACCC remains prepared to grant a full ruling on the case in October, and has at this point only refused to grant the shorter interim decision that the banks were seeking, citing the “complexity of the issues and the limited time available” and noting that it requires more time to seek input from “industry, consumers, and other interested parties” to render a final decision. The ACCC also noted that its refusal to grant the interim decision has no bearing on the outcome of the full ruling, expected in October.