However, the Australian banks want to focus primarily on the latter, now.
In a submission published by the ACCC, the coalition of banks (NAB, Westpac, Commonwealth and Bendigo Bank) now applying for permission with collectively bargain with Apple over use of the iPhone's NFC chip has hit back against claims its efforts are a "trojan horse" to establish new revenue streams, dismissing them as "conspiracy theories" and "fantasy". Because of these benefits, the banks said they they "have again been supported by almost all of Australia's leading retailers". If NFC access on the iPhone is granted, the banks said, then competition between mobile wallet apps will be increased, in both card payment product features and promotions, and in non-payment features and consumer offerings.
"Given that Apple can't actually make a payment without using the banks' infrastructure, it seems to me a reasonable piece of reciprocity for Apple to actually open up their infrastructure to the banks, in exchange for the banks opening up the infrastructure for them". The applicants want to put up their digital offerings head to head with Apple Pay, and let the market and individual consumers decide which best suits their needs.
"The applicants flatly reject Apple's unsupported assertions that the application is about an objection to the fees that Apple wishes to impose, rather than NFC access". Previously, the coalition of banks also sought to challenge Apple on Apple Pay due to the service's fees. Apple's "conspiracy theories" are "fantasy", the banks said in an accompanying e-mailed statement Monday. With their services business set to become the size of a standalone Fortune 100 company this year, Apple is the leading expert on deriving fee revenues from iPhone users, not the applicants. "This has global implications for the use of NFC on smartphones. Any delay or frustration will be as a result of Apple refusing to negotiate", the banks said in response.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA.AX), Westpac Banking Corp (WBC.AX), National Australia Bank Ltd (NAB.AX) and Bendigo & Adelaide Bank Ltd (BEN.AX) command two-thirds of Australia's credit card market but have yet to allow use of their cards with Apple Pay which was introduced to the country a year ago.
"Apple is not a bank or a credit card scheme, and Apple can not on their own complete a mobile payment, Blockley continues".
The applicants look forward to the ACCC's final decision, and believe their submission further demonstrates the net public benefits of the application, and substantially removes any risk of public detriment.
"The only benefit that would accrue to the banks in that case is a purely private benefit where they would be allowed to continue to free-ride on the significant investments made by Apple in its devices, iOS platform, and Apple Store infrastructure, and specifically in this case on the underlying technology installed on Apple devices to facilitate NFC payments without paying any fees for transactions processed via Apple Pay".
"If the customers ultimately prefer to use the Apple Pay wallet they can".
The commission told the banks that if the issue was more about access to Apple's contactless payment technology, instead of fees, then the banks had a stronger case.