Australia's Commonwealth Bank to Support Apple Pay Starting Next Month

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) today announced that next month it will become the second of Australia’s “Big Four” banks to support Apple Pay, ceding to customer demand after a multi-year dispute with Apple over fees and access to the NFC chip in iPhones. CBA is the largest retail bank in Australia and has long been a notable holdout from Apple Pay.

Angus Sullivan, Group Executive of Retail Banking Services, said: “We recently wrote to our customers asking them what the bank could do differently and we received lots of excellent suggestions.

“One of the things we heard repeatedly from our customers is that they want Apple Pay and we’re delighted to be making it available in January 2019.

“We are committed to making changes that benefit our customers and simplify our business. We will continue to look for more opportunities to innovate and listen, to ensure our customers get the best experience when they bank with us. Responding to customer demand for Apple Pay underscores our commitment to becoming a better, simpler bank.

Three of the Big Four banks (Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and Westpac) attempted to engage in collective bargaining with Apple in an effort to force Apple to open up the iPhone’s NFC capabilities to support other digital wallets such as those offered by the banks themselves.

Apple argued that the banks’ stance was harmful to consumers and stifling innovation, and Australian regulators agreed with Apple, denying the banks authorization for collective bargaining.

ANZ was the only the one of the Big Four banks in Australia willing to engage in talks with Apple over Apple Pay support, and the bank launched Apple Pay in April 2016. Dozens of smaller Australian banks later followed suit, but the remaining three major banks continued their holdout until today’s announcement from Commonwealth.

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