Apple: Australian banks’ request poses a security threat to the iPhone

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, according to the Financial Review.

Australia's three biggest banks, including the top lender, National Australia Bank, have lodged a joint application with anti-trust regulators seeking approval to collectively negotiate with Apple to install their own electronic payments applications on iPhones. However, Apple, which operates its Apple Pay mobile payment service, doesn’t allow third-party electronic payment apps to be installed on the smartphone. The banks are seeking to be able to negotiate jointly for access to Apple's phones without themselves being accused of violating anti-competition law.

In a three-page submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Apple said 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.”

The company continued: “Apple upholds very high security standards for our customers when they use Apple devices to make payments. 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. 

"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.”