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Australian Banks Lose Ability To Collectively Lobby For iPhone NFC Access

A group of Australian banks have been lobbying the country's Competition and Consumer Commission for the right to negotiate collectively with Apple for access to the NFC chip which enables contactless payments.

Aside from ANZ, none of the big Australian banks have adopted Apple Pay, claiming that prevent access to the NFC chip in the iPhone puts them at a competitive disadvantage in developing their own payment apps.

The attempt to bargain collectively was rejected on the basis that Apple competes with Android by offering customers a closed system and forcing the company to give the banks access would damage its competitiveness in the smartphone market.

The argument has imapcted on the roll out of Apple Pay for Australian and New Zealand customers. Even ANZ, which broke the cartel and started offering Apple Pay to its customers late last year, hasn't been quick to market with its offering. ANZ's GoMoney wallet offered contactless payments on Android phones a year earlier.

Australia's remaining banks have said that they will continue to fight their case with Apple on an individual basis, although that's a move which seems ripe for failure.

Alternatively the banks could push forward with Android Pay and target the greater number of Android smartphone users in the Australian population. Not having to pay the Apple Pay tax may even give them the opportunity to create a competitive advantage.

What they can't do though, is expect to hold off on Apple Pay forever, because Australia is a big iPhone market and customers will vote with their feet, changing banks before phones.