June 27, 2017
Apple opened a new front in its ongoing feud with Australian banks this week when it banned a feature on iPhone from Westpac that enabled mobile payments within messaging apps including Snapchat, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. Westpac, one of Australia’s Big Four issuers, launched its mobile payments keyboard in March that let consumers send P2P payments from their Westpac accounts through the popular messaging apps without having to leave a social media platform to log on to their mobile banking site. Starting in July, Apple confirmed that Westpac can no longer offer the feature on iPhones, according to published reports.
In December, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission sided with Apple over Westpac, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australian Bank as the issuers sought to negotiate collectively with Apple over access to iPhones for their own digital wallets.
In the most recent skirmish, speculation abounds that Apple will want to offer a similar feature of its own in the future.
“This is disappointing for us and the thousands of customers who are currently using it,” a Westpac spokesperson told the Australian Financial Review. “We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience caused and thank them for their continued support.”
The feature also is available on Android devices and Westpac will continue to offer it to those users, according to reports.