Australia’s Commonwealth Bank mocks Apple’s “pro-competition” claim

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By Paulina Duran

SYDNEY, Sept. 23 (Reuters) – Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country’s largest lender, accused Apple Inc on Thursday of anticompetitive behavior in controlling payments on its phones, which have grown to roughly a third of all consumer payments.

The remarks came after the competition regulator told the Australian newspaper Financial Review earlier this month that it was investigating whether Apple’s iPhone architecture violated competition laws.

Matt Comyn, CEO of the Sydney-based bank, urged lawmakers to tighten scrutiny on tech giants, saying payments through digital wallets developed by Apple and Alphabet’s Google accounted for about 45% of all consumer payments.

“The … claim that Apple is competitive is, in my opinion, a fair statement as long as you accept that competition is welcome as long as no one can compete with Apple,” Comyn told a regular parliamentary committee.

The bank asked Apple to release the Near Field Communication (NFC) chip on their phones to use bank-owned apps, citing their own data that the company records 80% of transactions made through digital phone wallets.

Apple, which requires banks to use their digital wallet to make all contactless payments and pay an undisclosed fee, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

“It’s analogous to imagine a world today where the only person on your Apple phone who can tell which carrier you’ve been using is Apple,” Comyn added.

Last month, the tech giant told a Senate investigation that its Apple Pay app was “pro-competitive” and accused companies pushing for further review of its products of doing so “for their own commercial gain.”

The results of the investigation were not published.

On Thursday, a representative from the competition authority said it would not make “ongoing comments” on its investigation.

In contrast to Apple, the search giant Google allows banks and other third parties to access its NFC chip. (Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)


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