Apple beats Australian banks in mobile payment case

Apple won a victory in Australia on March 31, which will protect its monopoly on mobile payment apps on its devices.

An Australian regulator ruled that four Australian banks could not collectively bargain to use their own payment apps. Currently Apple restricts its device to running Apple Wallet.

The banks wanted to install their own apps on Apple devices like iPhones and Apple watches. The banks would have collected the transaction fees from mobile payments made with these devices.

The Australian mobile payment market is estimated to be worth $84 billion annually, and Apple controls most of it. No banks in any of the 15 countries where Apple uses contactless payment—Apple Wallet—is allowed to use the devices for their own payment apps.

The four banks between them control two-thirds of Australia’s credit card market. If they had been allowed to negotiate as a group, they would have had powerful leverage, perhaps enough to make Apple change its policy.

If the Australian banks had won, other banks in other nations would likely have followed suit.