back to article Apple beats off banks' bid for access to iPhones' NFC chips

Apple has had a partial win in its attempt to prevent banks using iPhones' NFC chips for payment services other than Apple Pay. Four Australian banks applied to local regulators to bargain with Apple as a cartel. Apple argued against their application by claiming iThings' security would be badly compromised by allowing third- …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Exactly how does one have a proper Public Consultation when signing a confidentiality agreement is required to even see Apple's Terms and Conditions? Weird.

    1. DavidRa

      Re: Confidentiality

      Agreed. We can only hope the ACCC says "Well, you're acting like a monopoly by refusing to let people see the T&C's without a confidentiality agreement, so we're going to assume you ARE a monopoly, and that your T&Cs entrench your monopoly, oh and by the way, since you're a monopoly you can no longer enforce regulated pricing on iPhails by taking advantage of the loophole for selling on consignment."

      Dreams ...

      1. Tac Eht Xilef

        Re: Confidentiality

        "... monopoly ... monopoly ... monopoly ... monopoly ..."

        You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Confidentiality

          Really? Then who else has a pay-by-bonk scheme that actually works? (which leaves out Android Pay, because even as big of an Android fanboi as I am, I've never actually seen it work)

          So there's Apple, and... um.... gee, sounds like a monopoly to me.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Confidentiality

            You clearly have no concept of what a monopoly is. "I've never seen [Android Pay] actually" work does not mean that Apple Pay is the only method to pay with a phone! If Android Pay isn't as convenient or well marketed as Apple Pay (I have no idea if either is true, just using as an example) that would hardly be Apple's fault. That would be like if everyone wanted to buy a Tesla so badly that other electric cars sat on the lots unsold, claiming that Tesla had a monopoly!

            Even if the iPhone was unique in supporting mobile payments they still wouldn't have a monopoly, because paying with your phone is just one way of using your credit card to pay for stuff - and very very very very very far from the most popular one.

            Apparently what these banks are worried about is that if they do NOT support mobile payments on an iPhone, that iPhone users might choose to go to a different bank. So they want to degrade the mobile payment experience on an iPhone by requiring a dedicated app they write instead of the much more easily accessible (double tap at the lockscreen, no app launch required) and more secure (due to the use of the secure enclave, which third party apps cannot access) Apple Pay experience.

            If they were successful in doing this I'll bet their next step would be trying to make it so Apple isn't allowed to support Apple Pay at all in Australia, otherwise some of their competitors could still offer it and get iPhone users to switch away from the crappy experience these banks would offer with their insecure proprietary apps.

      2. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: Confidentiality

        I gotta disagree. You wouldn't want world+dog seeing the fine print. NDAs are standard procedure. The selling on consignment thing is a whole other deal designed to cynically maximise profit. But legal, for now

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Confidentiality and NDA's

          Are common place and IMHO nothing out of the ordinary.

          I wanted to do a POC on some software. IT took Legal 3+ months to agree the NDA terms.

          You get to see the product and the pricing details that are in general not public knowledge hence the need for confidentiality.

          An NDA is in effect a pre-contract contract. No commitment to sign the final contract but what goes in it is not for public release.

          All of this is pretty standard in business and I see that the approach that Apple is taking is really nothing out of the ordinary.

          As for not wanting to sign the NDA then that is a commercial decision those Aussie banks have made.

          They have in effect relied upon what little public knowledge there is of how Apple Pay really works and decided that even 0.015% is far too high a price to pay from their alredy very high charges. That is their choice and entirely their business.

          Meanwhile ANZ have signed up and are reaping the rewards with big increases in their customer base and usage.

          It seems that the public wants what Apple is providing but the other banks don't want to play. Again, that is a business decision and in time they may come to regret it.

          From observing several people using Apple Pay, it seems that they have got the user experience right. It is simple to use and to be honest, I have to give them kudos for doing that. I've not seen anyone use Android Pay yet so I can't compare the two.

          In time, we may think back and wonder why there was all this fuss in the first place but I can't help agreeing with my relatives down under that these three banks are crap and unwilling to move forward with tech solutions that benefit their customers and not always themselves.

          1. Dave Bell

            Re: Confidentiality and NDA's

            I remember some of the people worried about contactless payment with credit cards, and I think some of the fears are relatively simple to deal with. I suspect the fear of illicit card scanning is greatly exaggerated, but a screened card case is a simple fix. (They still look overpriced.)

            Some of the technical details just don't get reported, but we do get warned about interference between cards. How much of that under-reporting is down to lazy journalists, and how much is down to confidential information?

  2. Shadow Systems

    Apple beats off...

    Must. Resist. Urge. To. Giggle...

    *Dies laughing*

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    "Australia's regulators and courts are well-regarded worldwide"

    Indeed, but what do Australians think?

    1. Mark 65

      Re: "Australia's regulators and courts are well-regarded worldwide"

      I disagree that regulators like the ACCC are well-regarded worldwide unless you mean by companies that like to abuse the customer base. I've generally found them to be weak as piss and they have totally shied away from the food duopoly and the bullshit petrol pricing nonsense. They don't exactly do much at all really.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Australia's regulators and courts are well-regarded worldwide"

        I disagree that regulators like the ACCC are well-regarded worldwide unless you mean by companies that like to abuse the customer base.

        I think you'll find they are regarded well in much of the rest of the world by the jobsworths that gravitate towards the undemanding world of "regulation". Such people should of course be boiled in pitch for their crime of ineffectual mediocrity.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apples' cut is 0.15%

  5. Dave Bell

    If it's true that one of the banks involved won't sign up to confidentiality, why should I trust them with my money.

    Yes, there is the security-by-obscurity argument, but it looks as though Apple are willing to talk, just a bit picky. And, after that SWIFT story this week, I think it's good that they are.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Four Australian banks applied to local regulators to bargain with Apple as a cartel."

    Yeah, a bit like they 'bargain' with their customers, not much to choose between the lot of them.

    This time, I find myself hoping that Apple prevails.

  7. Andrew Punch

    Meanwhile I'm just sitting here

    paying for stuff on my Android Phone using the bank app

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