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Australian regulator favours Apple

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the country’s competition regulator, has ruled that banks cannot introduce their own mobile apps on iPhones and Apple watches that could be used for contactless payments instead of Apple Wallet. The banks wanted to avoid transaction fees levied by Apple and get customers to engage more frequently with their own apps. Four major banks in the country had approached the regulator thinking a favourable decision would have given them more negotiating power with Apple. Apple does not allow any of its 3500 bank partners in 15 global markets access to the NFC technology behind its payment system. The Commission held that giving the banks bargaining power could reduce competition by forcing Apple to act more like Alphabet, whose Google arm owns the more open Android operating system that allows contactless payments from individual apps. The banks involved – Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac Banking Corp, National Australia Bank and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank – have yet to allow use of their cards with Apple Pay, which was introduced to the country in 2016.

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