What you need to know
- An Australian Bank chief has mocked claims the company is pro-competition.
- Matt Comyn of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia told lawmakers more scrutiny was required.
- A rival bank said Comyn's claims were ironic given it was the largest bank in the country.
The chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has mocked claims Apple is pro-competition in regards to Apple Pay and digital wallet transactions, claims one rival said were ironic coming from the biggest bank in the country.
As reported by Reuters, the bank's chief executive Matt Comyn told a committee of lawmakers on Thursday: "The ... claim that Apple is pro-competition, I think, is a fair statement, as long as one accepts that competition is welcome as long as no one can compete with Apple." As the report notes, Comyn is urging the government to focus its scrutiny on companies like Apple and Google regarding digital wallet payments that use tech like Apple Pay on devices like the iPhone 13 and Apple's other best iPhones.
The Commonwealth Bank wants Apple to give access to its NFC app for banks' own apps and claims Apple hosts about 80% of all contactless payments made on smartphones and watches in the country. The bank further estimates that 90% of transactions in the country are contactless.
Comyn described the situation on iPhone as akin to Apple dictating which mobile carrier people could use:
"It is analogous to imagine a world today where, on your Apple phone, the only person that could determine which carrier you used is Apple," Comyn said.
Comyn's comments didn't pass without criticism, however. Shayne Elliot, chief executive of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, the country's fourth-biggest lender, said that it had not been focused on the problem until this particular complaint. That company was the first to bring Apple Pay support to its customers. Elliot stated, "it's kind of ironic, one of Australia's biggest companies complaining about having to deal with other big competitors."
Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is investigating whether Apple is in breach of competition laws by restricting access to Apple Pay. Similar scrutiny is also underway in the EU.