Apple insists Australian payment rule changes shouldn't apply to Wallet

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The Australian government's intention to impose more regulations on Apple Pay, Apple Wallet, and other payment mechanisms is an overreach, Apple insists, with it potentially risking the security of its service.




The Commonwealth Bank of Australia and other financial institutions have pushed lawmakers to consider implementing new regulations that affects Apple Wallet, Apple Pay, and others in the industry. In comments unearthed on Monday, Apple is fighting back against the proposals.

Regulations under consideration would provide the Reserve Bank with more powers than the current 25-year-old legislation it currently uses, according to The Australian Financial Review, one which doesn't allow the RBA to impose rules on technology firms regarding smartphone access and price regulation.

If passed, the regulations will introduce a licensing scheme that would allow the RBA to interfere with digital payment mechanisms, such as the Apple Wallet.

For example, after years of banks demanding direct access to Apple's NFC system so their apps can handle payments directly instead of using Apple Wallet, the RBA could be compelled to force Apple into making changes to enable that access.

In its submission to the Treasury seen by the report, Apple argues that its Wallet is effectively a "digital reproduction of a physical wallet, and no more a payment system or participant than an actual physical wallet would be."

Apple further claims that the design of Apple Wallet is meant to be pro-competitive, since it allows smaller banks and fintech companies more access, as well as more choice in what card they use. Apple proposes that this competition is a key reason why major banks dislike the current setup.

Apple Pay is also discussed, with it being a limited player in the mobile payments system, and that Apple doesn't create financial or operational risks to banks.

"Apple's only role has been to develop the technical architecture that can be used by licensed financial institutions to offer their consumers a safer and more secure way to pay with their cards," Apple told the Treasury.

No "free riders"



In its own submission, the CBA doesn't want "free riders and loopholes that could be disproportionately exploited by overseas technology companies," and that regulators "should have the ability to regulate all participants that form part of the payments ecosystem." The Treasury also explicitly includes digital wallet makers as "participants" in payment systems.

However, Apple denies there has been any "demonstrated case" for intervention so far. Furthermore, it shouldn't be subjected to regulation since it doesn't actually provide financial services in Australia, such as Apple Card in the United States.

"Apple does not issue debit, credit or prepaid cards in Australia, nor does Apple acquire, process, authorise or execute transactions," Apple claims.

"Apple is neither an issuer nor an acquirer for existing regulated payments systems, and at no point does Apple handle a payer's money or have any control over any payments or transfer of value" the submission continued. "Apple Pay does not store any details of a cardholder's existing debit, credit or prepaid card and does not have access to a user's account to determine whether funds are available or store any value or funds."

The regulation proposal also introduces risks to make it tougher for new entities to enter the industry, in part due to unclear definitions. Apple offers that retailer Woolworth's could be subject to the same regulations due to its QR code-based rewards program, and so could third-party ATM operators and Google Chrome's autofill system.

"Regulating functions which only have an indirect and limited role is contrary to the objective of promoting greater competition, diversity, and innovation within the patent ecosystem," Apple insists.

In May, the CBA told the Treasury "Creating an environment where digital platforms are able to avoid regulation could see a hollowing out of domestic industry."

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,825member
    Apple Pay works very well in Australia. My Apple Watch is all I need to have with me when shopping here. No wonder the banks are pressing 'reforms' - they're grifters actually with government backing.
    luke hamblymattinozd_2rob53FileMakerFellerchasmwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 2 of 11
    iqatedo said:
    Apple Pay works very well in Australia. My Apple Watch is all I need to have with me when shopping here. No wonder the banks are pressing 'reforms' - they're grifters actually with government backing.
    Couldn’t agree more! I can’t remember the last time I pulled my wallet out to pay! I certainly don’t remember withdrawing cash! Leave it to the CBA to ruin a good thing! If they think Apple is so terrible, why don’t they pull Apple Pay?! I left CBA years ago and I’ve never looked back! 
    iqatedoFileMakerFellerchasmwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 3 of 11
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,267member
    I have a problem with governments trying to force capabilities onto a product. If Apple only wants their phone to do certain things, it should only have to do those things. It's like a government forcing a car manufacturer to make a car that flies when that manufacturer only wants to make it drive on a road. Australia, like lots of other countries, want to use unique Apple technologies for their own use instead of simply using what's available on that Apple device. Show me a Windows PC that natively runs macOS. There aren't any so why isn't Australia, etc., forcing Microsoft to install macOS on PCs? Stupid idea but it's the same thing as governments demanding access to things the manufacturer doesn't want to give anyone.
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 4 of 11
    gprovidagprovida Posts: 258member
    If too onerous or risking security, perhaps Apple needs to eliminate or significantly reduce Services. At some point the foolish efforts to protect existing companies banks etc., from technology competition will stall or even eliminate services in that country. Apple may even have to disable NFC capabilities to protect security.  It’s hard to imagine how local country laws can compel capabilities especially if such capabilities become sources for security risks in other countries. 

    I suspect these kind of shenanigans will further delay or even eliminate new capabilities   I,wonder if the foolish laws and regulations are part of why Apple Card’s are not available in some countries.  
    laytechwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 5 of 11
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,221member
    Maybe the the RBA, instead of looking for ways to extend its power, should investigate why there seems to be disincentives for companies like Apple to offer the same financial services as that it offers in the USA.
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 6 of 11
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,636member
    Thanks. I see at least two people chanting my regular mantra here, so I don't need to make the same points today.
    chasmwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 7 of 11

    In its own submission, the CBA doesn't want "free riders and loopholes that could be disproportionately exploited by overseas technology companies,"

    ...but anything that could be exploited by local companies is just fine, right?
    watto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 8 of 11
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,388member

    In its own submission, the CBA doesn't want "free riders and loopholes that could be disproportionately exploited by overseas technology companies,"

    ...but anything that could be exploited by local companies is just fine, right?
    the very same CBA who got pull up by the regulators for charging dead people for services that weren't even provided when they billed living people for. 
    watto_cobraAlex1NFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 9 of 11
    laytechlaytech Posts: 339member
    "the CBA doesn't want "free riders and loopholes" - CBA (Commonwealth Bank, also known and Con Bank - because, yes it conned its investment customers out of millions) - has the gaul to make this claim.

    This is nothing but the big banks trying to get more control and make more money back because Apple Pay is a success. I don't want any external Government changing rules to suit the big banks. Like I don't want the App Store being forced to change anything. I am quite happy for Apple to look after my security, I actually think they care more than any Government or big bank. They may care more because its good for them and their shareholders but if I had to pick a choice, go with the Australian Banks that have not done thing for their customers or Apple, well, its Apple all the way.
    mattinozwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 10 of 11
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,388member
    Seems like the Banks might want to watch what they wish for here. 
    Apple isn't a player in finance in Australia but if they are going to be treated like they are then they might as well be their own bank. 

    Offer Apple Card and Savings accounts 
    aderutterwatto_cobraAlex1N
  • Reply 11 of 11
    Those were very clever arguments made by Apple, clearly reported in this article.
    watto_cobraAlex1N
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