ACCC rejects Australian banks’ negotiation bid

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has decided not to grant a group of Australian banks interim authorization to “collectively negotiate” with third party mobile wallet providers. With the assessment process at an early stage, the regulator is requesting more time to “consult and consider the views of the industry, consumers and other interested parties” before making a final decision.

ACCC logo200 Westpac, Commonwealth Bank (CBA), National Australia Bank (NAB) and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank submitted their request to the ACCC in July 2016, pressing for the power to negotiate on third party mobile payment services as well as urging Apple to open up the NFC technology in its handsets.

“In deciding not to grant interim authorization, the ACCC took into account the potential for continuing effects on competition in the market, the extent of urgency for the request, any possible harm to the applications or other parties if interim authorization is granted or denied, and possible public benefits and detriments,” the organisation says.

“The ACCC has considered interim authorization within a short timeframe at the request of the applicants,” says ACCC chairman Rod Sims. “However, given the complexity of the issues and the limited time available, the ACCC has decided not to grant interim authorization at this time. The ACCC requires more time to consult and consider the views of industry, consumers and other interested parties.”

Draft decision

“The entire ACCC authorization process usually takes up to six months, including the release of a draft decision for consultation before making a final decision,” Sims added. “We expect to release a draft decision in October 2016.

“The ACCC’s decision not to grant interim authorization at this time is not indicative of whether or not a draft or final authorization will be granted.”

Apple responded to the banks’ application earlier this month, stating that the submission was made up of “factual and legal misstatements” and would “harm consumers, lead to less competition and less innovation, and create a troubling precedent” if granted.

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