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Apple and Austrailian banks continue to battle over NFC technology

Someone using Apple Pay with their iPhone.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
The battle down under over Apple Pay is raging on and it looks like Apple is ready to fight to the death. In its latest submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Cupertino, California-based tech giant claims that a group of Australia’s largest banks is looking to “delay or even block” the expansion of Apple Pay at the expense of customers and other card issuers who might be able to use Apple’s technology “as a means of securing a digital presence in competition with the big banks.”

For months, Apple has been arguing against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank, Westpac Banking Corporation, and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank over whether or not these large banks can access the near field communication (NFC) antenna. In essence, these banks want to place their own digital wallets on iOS, for which they would need to use the iPhone’s NFC antenna. Apple, however, is saying no.

According to its most recent filing with the ACCC, Apple says that the banks are looking to avoid paying fees in order to use the technology. Indeed, the tech giant claims, these four financial institutions want to be “allowed to continue to free-ride on the significant investments’’ Apple has made.

The banks have already shot back at this charge, calling Apple’s assertions “incorrect and unsupported.” In a statement, the banks noted, “The application has never been about preventing Apple Pay from coming to Australia or reducing competition between wallets.” Rather, they continued, “It has always been about providing real choice and real competition for consumers and facilitating innovation and investment in the digital wallet functionality available to Australians.”

A full formal response from the banks will be filed later this week and the ultimate conclusion to this battle royale has yet to be determined.

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