Ed Husic calls for regulation following banks’ ‘boycott’ of Apple Pay


news Ed Husic, the Member for Chifley in Sydney, said this week that Australian consumers are being denied payment choices over the banks’ apparent “boycott” of Apple Pay.

Making his comments in letters to the Australian Banking Association and the Reserve Bank of Australia (Payment Systems Board), Husic further called for “technology neutral” regulation to avoid consumers suffering from the possibly “anti-competitive” actions of some financial institutions.

Apple Pay is a fast and secure contactless payment app for iOS devices released in the US in 2014. It was launched in Australia on 20 November 2015, with a limited number of participating retailers and support by just one credit card company, American Express.

Owners of Apple iOS devices, such as iPhones, can use the app in place of their physical credit card, paying for goods and services at participating businesses with a wave of the device over a compatible payment terminal.

Apple Pay now has around 750 banks facilitating its use in the US, according to the MP.

However, Husic said: “It comes as some surprise to learn of claims that Australian banks have refused to mirror this support – appearing to effectively boycott the service, taking away the right of Australian consumers to access a payment system they may prefer.”

Various reasons are being cited for this decision by the banks, he went on, including “a preference to drive customers to use the banks’ own payment platforms and a strong negotiating position by the banks in relation to transaction commissions being demanded by Apple”.

While agreements between Apple and the banks are not made public, the tech giant receives about 15 cents from every $100 transaction in the US, and “significantly less” in the UK, according to the The Financial Times.

Husic said it has been suggested that some credit card companies have resisted working with alternative payment systems such as Android Pay and Apple Pay on commercial grounds.

“Australian consumers,” he said, “should not be denied the ability to make payment choices that are openly available to consumers globally.

“No doubt some will argue this move by the banks is anti-competitive – I am certainly concerned that it denies consumers access to a secure, efficient payment platform. While I welcome the fact that the Apple Pay system is available via American Express, it should be noted that this payment mechanism usually attracts a higher transaction cost. What is noteworthy is that some in the payments systems sector have called for a more liberalised approach.”

The MP did acknowledge that commercial negotiations may “occasionally frustrate” the introduction of new payment methods, but it “shouldn’t unduly delay the emergence of new methods”, he said.

“Neither should there be a delay because some banks want to drive customers onto their own individual technology platform ahead of other platforms,” Husic said.

“On this basis I would urge the RBA — more specifically the PSB — to consider the introduction of enhancements to the national payment systems framework to encourage greater tech neutrality and enhance consumer choice.”

Image credit: Parliamentary Broadcasting


  1. If the banks would hurry up with fixing the systems between each other and offer payment solutions on phones using nfc, there would be competition completely. Also what happened to the reforms for eftpos and credit card fees ?

    • Said reforms probably would have negatively impacted the banking sectors obscene taxing of the electronic financial transactions that are all but a necessity in modern Australia.

  2. Last I checked the NFC chip on new iPhones can only be used for Apple pay what goes around comes around.

  3. Using Host Card Emulation technology, CommBank has made contactless payments available on any Android 4.4+ smartphone with NFC chip.

    Previously, only customers with Samsung Galaxy S4+ range could make payments. Other customers could buy an NFC-enabled sticker to attach to their phone.

    While the Apple iPhone 6 includes an NFC chip, it is tied to the Apple Pay service. Apple users can pay $2.99 to get a PayTag sticker from CommBank to make mobile payments.

    • With Apple’s tech you arent tied to one bank, what if a Combank customer has a NAB CC and wants to use it the same way? they can’t!

      If these rules are changed it will help Google and Apple and anyone else who wants to introduce an independant payments system.

      • Derek, that was an example that the restrictions do not apply to Android which supports universal NFC. Samsung is introducing even more advanced Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) that will work (almost) anywhere, built into the Galaxy S6 [Edge][+], Note 5… Mine is Galaxy Note 4 & starting from Galaxy S3/Note 2 they all have NFC (3yrs ago).

        Apple NFC only works with Apple pay & Apple is a bully that AU banks don’t need to follow. Iphone/other users can use stickers, so nobody is left behind. Ed’s case doesn’t stand here.

        GoMoney Wallet with NFC payments on Android phones has been announced for release by ANZ in NZ, but ANZ Bank has advised Ausdroid that they also intend to release it here in Australia.

        If you are an Apple fan, that you’ll have to start paying the price of supporting a bully that charges 2x for 1/2 of functionality.

        • Mate Google wallet doesn’t work either, you need an app from every bank. I’ve worked on a large next gen backing project and frankly I’d trust Google and Apple solutions over bank solutions every day of the week!

  4. I’m wondering what all the fuss is about.

    Obviously I’ve had Visa/MasterCard in my pocket for years, you can’t do serious work without at least one of them. I was OK with the SmartChip technology, I figured Oz had at last wandered into the 21st century…

    Then Visa/MasterCard decided we were taking too long at the checkout, and the problem was the PIN. It takes 30 seconds ‘wa-a-a-a-y too much of their precious time, so they went Contactless. WE CAN’T OPT OUT OF CONTACTLESS. So I severed my little antenna wires…

    Then a Bunnings store saw my purchase was less than Au$35, and decided I didn’t need to enter my PIN EVEN THOUGH THE TRANSACTION WAS CONTACTFUL. Visa and MasterCard allow stores to by-pass essential security measures, but absolutely refuse to let users enforce those measures.

    So I took a heavy pointy instrument to my SmartChip. Financially, I now live in the early twentieth century: my card cannot now be used in an ATM! BUT, now I have to provide my PIN on every transaction. And I’m happily secure, and don’t need an RFID-protected wallet.

    So why the fuss over Apple Pay? It’s just anther way to screw you the PAYING customer.

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