Apple Pay cannot be bypassed in Australia, say regulators, in ruling that could have global implications

Oliver Gill
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Apple Pay is available in 15 countries around the world (Source: Getty)

Apple has won a landmark battle against Australian banks over its mobile payments app, a decision that could have implications all around the world.

Australian competition watchdogs overnight ruled financial institutions cannot develop their own apps to be used on Apple iPhones and watches.

The tech giant does not allow any of its banking partners access to the Apple Pay software underpinning its contactless payment systems.

Read more: Barclays customers can now use Apple Pay... finally

Four of Australia’s largest banks had appealed to regulators to allow them to bypass transaction fees charged by Apple by allowing them to develop their own technology.

The banks argued a restriction on them developing digital wallets that was ultimately bad for consumers.

“It will have global implications,” Australian competition and consumer commission chairman Rod Sims told Reuters.

The ruling is in line with a draft recommendations issued by the regulator in November.

Around 3,500 lenders across 15 countries use Apple Pay to process contactless payments.

Read more: Watch out PayPal: Now you can use Apple Pay online

The lenders involved, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac, National Australia Bank and Bendigo & Adelaide, control around two-thirds of Australia’s credit card market.

Although Apple Pay was introduced last year in Australia, the four have yet to allow their cards to be used with the technology. Two of the country’s other larger lenders, ANZ and Macquarie, came to an agreement with Apple last year to use Apple Pay.

A spokesperson for Apple hailed the decision, saying it will be a boost for Australians who wanted the “easiest, most secure and private payment experience possible”.

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