Apple launches blistering attack on Aussie banks; says demand for NFC access would threaten iPhone security

“Apple has launched a blistering attack on three of Australia’s big banks, saying their request to collectively negotiate over digital wallet access to the iPhone will compromise the handset’s security, reduce innovation and blunt Apple’s entry into the payments market in Australia,” James Eyers reports for Austrialian Financial Review. “”

“In a sign of growing acrimony between the world’s largest company and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking Corp, Apple told the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that ‘allowing the banks to form a cartel to collectively dictate terms to new business models and services would set a troubling precedent and delay the introduction of new, potentially disruptive technologies,'” Eyers reports. “In a pithy, three-page submission to the ACCC, Apple says providing access to the phone’s transmitter to allow bank applications to facilitate contactless payments would compromise the security of Apple’s hardware. ‘Apple upholds very high security standards for our customers when they use Apple devices to make payments,’ it said. ‘Providing simple access to the NFC antenna by banking applications would fundamentally diminish the high level of security Apple aims to have on our devices.'”

Eyers reports, “‘Unfortunately, and based on their limited understanding of the offering, the [banks] perceive Apple Pay as a competitive threat. These banks want to maintain complete control over their customers. The present application is only the latest tactic employed by these competing banks to blunt Apple’s entry into the Australian market,’ said Apple in a document signed by Marg Demmer, a former cards executive at ANZ Banking Group.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last month of the Australian banks’ demand for NFC access:

Apple could simply argue “No” on the simple and obvious ground of protecting iOS user’s security.

Australian banks accuse Apple of anti-competitive behavior, want access to iPhone’s NFC chip to take on Apple Pay – July 28, 2016
ANZ welcomes Apple Pay in Australia with a funny new TV ad – May 5, 2016
Apple expands Apple Pay in Australia with ANZ bank deal – April 28, 2016


  1. Aussie banks are always trying extort extra beer money from the public and this is just another example of that. Personally I’d give them what they want, then walk in and take over their businesses when they’re all inebriated and hungover.

  2. I love Apple, mostly. Here they are shooting silver arrows into the heart of blatant CORPORATOCRACY. And Apple’s a corporation!

    …Allowing the banks to form a cartel to collectively dictate terms to new business models and services would set a troubling precedent and delay the introduction of new, potentially disruptive technologies

    Obviously. The Aussie banks are pulling a CLASSIC corporatocracy move, this time within the realm of corporations. Fall on your bums Aussie banks and have a good pouting tantrum. 😛

  3. Whenever we’ve been in Australia, the locals have always advised us to minimize contact with the banks there as much as possible. They are not trusted, and wisely. Bad management, lax IT security, horrible treatment of customers. Bravo, Apple. Don’t let them pull you down to their level.

  4. When Apple has decided that something is never, ever going to happen is when they “argue” simply “No.”

    You can bet, however, that the NFC transceiver in the iPhone and Apple Watch will be opened up for other uses down the road, most notably for transit applications, but possibly for other “secure ID” applications. It’s too valuable a capability, and too well-positioned, to be restricted only to touchless payments forever.

    I’m sure that the apps which are given access will be required to go through the computer equivalent of an Apple colonoscopy, just to make sure that no holes into (or out of) the Secure Archive appear, but feel free to iCal it – you can bet that these other apps will appear, and relatively soon. But Apple, no one else, will be firmly in control.

  5. When this topic appeared a little while ago I made a post with a bona fide Commonwealth Bank Commercial (one of a series) that ran down under as an indication as to how negotiations would look like. The post was removed for reasons beyond me.

    It’s a bit like the Cassandra effect for me. I’m excellent at predicting future trends, but convincing others of the validity of my predictions is like pulling teeth.

    In light of this, I respectfully ask MDN to let this post and the commercial stand.

  6. The issue of course is that not only do the largest banks have an enormous collective market share, but each one of them is enormous in its own right on a global scale. Commonwealth yesterday declared their full year profits at AU$9.45 billion.

    I’d say that the activity of Australia’s banks is in many areas very well regulated, but cartel behaviour is clearly unacceptable for companies this large.

  7. The Aussie banks will not fold. They are without a doubt the most secure, stable banking establishments in the world. Australia was the only country not to go into recession 2013. 26 years of growth. Now, do you really believe APPLE will get their way?/ Not in a million years. Apple are still bitching that they are forced to give 2 years warranty on their phones. Australia is one country Apple has little power.

  8. So Apple want to stop all banks from using their own apps to tap and pay? Apple wants to collect all the transmit fees also?? NEVER GONNA HAPPEN APPLE, NOT IN AUSTRALIA. You may think its you that can demand change, not here mate. Take your apple pay and bugger off.

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