You may have noticed that not all of the Australian banks have welcomed Android Pay with open arms. Commonwealth Bank and National Bank have stated that their own apps and services meet consumers needs, having used the CBAs app I can attest that it is half the app Android Pay is for mobile payments. Westpac says that they are working on implementing Android Pay but it feels like a PR delay tactic.
Last month CBA and National Bank in conjunction with Westpac Bank and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank submitted a filing to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) requesting permission to “engage in limited collective negotiation with providers of third-party mobile wallet services (such as Apple)” and “to enter into a limited form of collective boycott in relation to a third-party mobile wallet provider”.
Breaking that down, the Gang of Banks was seeking permission to collectively join together, with as many other institutions as they could convince to join, and boycott Android Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay, whilst jointly negotiating with the providers their own terms of access to those services. They made the request to the ACCC as this conduct could well be perceived as anti-competitive behaviour; we’d agree that’s how we’re perceiving it.
This week’s judgement is a temporary refusal of that request, whilst the ACCC undertakes consultation with the industry, consumers, and other interested parties. So rather than a complete win, this is more of a stay of execution. It is unlikely any of the applicants will now just start to support 3rd party mobile payment options.
Reading between the lines Android Pay is not the Gang’s primary target. Apple takes a percentage of every transaction on Apple Pay whilst simultaneously denying anyone else access to the NFC system to integrate their own payments solution, this also feels s a little anti-competitive if you ask us, but Apple habitually gets away with that. This seems to be the group’s primary issue, that’s not to say that the Banks would welcome Android Pay and Samsung Pay with open arms if Apple pay didn’t exist.
Even with Google’s current policies, any 3rd party would be worried about the long-term plan. Sure Google isn’t skimming the transaction yet, but what about in 10 years when the mobile payments systems are ubiquitous? In the end services like Android Pay and Samsung Pay provide consumers choice, and if the banks want users to use their services over ones like these then it’s up to them to develop apps that are more compelling that consumers will CHOOSE to use, that’s how these things apparently work.
We will continue to watch the ACCC and see where this all ends.
Where do you stand on the Banks vs the tech industry on mobile payments? Let us know below.