Australian Commonwealth Bank scoffs at Apple’s ‘pro-competition’ claim

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SYDNEY: Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country’s largest lender, on Thursday accused Apple Inc of anti-competitive behavior over controlling payments on its phones, which account for about a third of all consumer payments.

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

Matt Comyn, chief executive of the Sydney-based bank, urged lawmakers to step up scrutiny of tech giants, saying payments through Alphabet’s Apple and Google-developed digital wallets made up around 45% of all consumer payments.

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“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,” Comyn told a regular parliamentary committee .

The bank has asked Apple to release the Near Field Communication (NFC) chip on its phones for use in the banks’ own apps, citing its own data that the company captures 80% of transactions made through digital phone wallets.

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Apple, which requires banks to process all contactless payments through its digital wallet and pay undisclosed fees, declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

“It’s analogous to imagining a world today where, on your Apple phone, the only person who could determine which carrier you are using is Apple,” Comyn added.

Last month, the tech giant said in a Senate inquiry that its Apple Pay app was “pro-competitive,” and accused companies of asking for a more in-depth review of its products “for their own sake. own commercial gain “.

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The findings of the investigation have not been released.

On Thursday, a representative of the competition regulator said he would not provide “routine comments” on his investigations.

Unlike Apple, search giant Google allows banks and other third parties to access its NFC chip.

(Report by Paulina Duran in Sydney, edited by Clarence Fernandez)

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