news In a move that looks likely aimed at countering the threat from mobile payments apps like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, a group of Australian banks has applied to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for permission to enter joint negotiations with providers of third-party mobile wallets.
According to a joint statement on behalf of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac, the group wants to “ensure that Australian consumers can make payments easily through their choice of mobile wallet providers, have access to the latest developments in contactless payment technology, and can benefit from common security standards across the mobile payment system”.
Such a move could benefit the banks’ consumers, the statement said, by allowing them to choose the mobile wallet that best suits their needs, as well as gain access to new features, apps and technologies developed by the makers of different mobile wallets.
“This is about providing Australians with real choice and better outcomes. If successful, the application would have tremendous benefits for the entire Australian mobile payments landscape including for public transport fares, airlines, ticketing, store loyalty and rewards programs and many more applications yet to be developed,” said Lance Blockley, Senior Advisor for Novantas – a firm providing analytic advisory services and technology solutions for financial institutions – on behalf of the banking group.
According to the statement, Australia is at the “forefront” of contactless card payments, which have been “well accepted” by consumers and merchants.
It goes on that successful negotiations will mean that Australia has a “competitive, innovative and transparent” system of mobile payments, including third-party wallets.
The issue is becoming more urgent with major public transport systems in Australia soon to begin trials of “open loop” contactless payment technology.
Furthermore, if the application is granted, the route would be open for other businesses and institutions to join negotiations “if they believe it would benefit their customers”.
The statement added that the application isn’t asking to enter joint negotiations on the amount of fees or charges. Hence, financial institutions would be responsible for individually negotiating contractual arrangements with wallet providers.
The application for authorisation is subject to agreement by the ACCC.
Image credit: Commonwealth Bank