Australia Could Pass New Regulation for Apple Pay and Other Digital Payment Services

BY Rajesh Pandey

Published 30 Aug 2021

Apple Pay

Australia could further tighten regulations surrounding digital payment services from the likes of Apple and Google. A new report has been commissioned in Australia regarding this, which Treasurer Josh Frydenberg would “carefully consider.”

Currently, the Australian government does not consider Apple Pay, Google Pay, and WeChat Pay as payment systems, so they do not come under its existing regulations. With the updated regulations, this could change, which could put these payment services under greater scrutiny.

“Ultimately, if we do nothing to reform the current framework, it will be Silicon Valley alone that determines the future of our payments system, a critical piece of our economic infrastructure,” Josh Frydenberg said in an opinion piece that was published in the Australian Financial Review newspaper.

The Australian report recommends that the Australian government be given the power to designate tech companies with payment services to be marked as payment providers. It also recommends that the Australian government and the industry work together to create a payment system strategy and develop an integrated licensing framework.

The RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) currently decides who can be designated as a payment services provider. The RBA reported in 2019 that payments through digital wallets had grown from 2 percent in 2016 to 8 percent in 2019.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia and others have raised issues over the growth of digital wallets and “competition issues.” They have repeatedly urged Australian regulators to look into these issues and how safe they are for consumers.

Back when Apple launched Apple Pay, its adoption was resisted by major Australian banks. The banks wanted to come together and bargain with Apple over NFC access and Apple Pay on iPhone. However, this move was denied by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

On the flip side, Apple has long been under scrutiny in Australia for not opening NFC access on iPhones to third-party apps as it stifles competition.

[Via Reuters]