Australia again considers whether Apple Pay should be under stricter rules

Paying with Apple Pay
Paying with Apple Pay (Image credit: Pexels)

What you need to know

  • The Australian government is again considering whether Apple Pay and other digital wallets require more oversight.
  • Australia is pondering whether Apple and other companies should be classed as payment providers. As of now, they aren't.

Australia is again considering changing the way it deals with Apple Pay and similar payment systems and digital wallets, according to a new report.

According to Reuters, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg intends to "carefully consider" whether tightened regulation is needed — currently, Apple and similar digital wallet providers are not classed as payment providers, limiting oversight.

Services such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and China's WeChat Pay, which have grown rapidly in recent years, are not currently designated as payment systems, putting them outside the regulatory system.

That has left some Australians concerned that the country is no longer in control of its own payment infrastructure and could instead end up reliant on companies it has no control over — like Apple, Google, and others. By reclassifying technology companies as payment providers, Australia could reclaim some of its control. The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) released a report earlier this month that said the country needs to "urgently get to grips with the growing influence of" companies like Apple.

The Australian report recommended the government be given the power to designate tech companies as payment providers, clarifying the regulatory status of digital wallets.

The use of Apple Pay and similar wallets continues to grow across Australia, with a Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) report noting that payment via such wallets has increased to 8% as of 2019, an increase from the 2% in 2016. It's difficult to believe that it won't have increased yet further since.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.