Sunday, 05 May 2019 16:35

Apple Pay: Westpac, NAB have no timetable for implementation Featured

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Apple Pay: Westpac, NAB have no timetable for implementation Pixabay

Westpac and National Australia Bank customers will have to wait awhile to use Apple Pay, with both banks unwilling to give any indication when they would provide the digital payment option.

A Westpac spokesperson did not refer to any factor that was holding the bank back from offering Apple Pay, but told iTWire in response to a query: "We continually review how we help our customers with their mobile banking needs and remain open to considering Apple Pay for our Australian customers."

The spokesperson said the bank offered Google Pay, Westpac Banking Skill (Amazon Alexa) & Westpac for Google Assistant, Siri for Westpac, PayWear, and Beem It.

Brent Southey, NAB general manager Digital Channels, gave no direct answer either, saying: "We continue to look at all options to provide our customers with access to safe and secure ways to make digital payments, and to provide choice to customers no matter what device they own. When we have more to say about options like Apple Pay we’ll let our customers know."

iTWire understands that NAB offers Google Pay, NAB Pay, Samsung Pay, along with FitBit Pay and Garmin smartwatch capability.

The inquiries were made following Commonwealth Bank's announcement last week that it would be extending Apple Pay to its business card holders. The bank also offers Google Pay, Alipay (in-store) and Samsung Pay, and also payment on the go with Garmin smartwatches.

The CBA, along with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, NAB and Westpac, attempted to cut a deal with Apple over Apple Pay in 2017, but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission denied them the right to negotiate collectively.

The banks had sought authorisation to bargain with Apple for access to the near-field communication controller in iPhones, and reasonable access terms to the App Store. Such access would have allowed the four to offer their own integrated digital wallets to iPhone customers in competition with Apple’s digital wallet, without using Apple Pay.

Subsequently, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank quietly adopted Apple Pay. ANZ was not part of this cartel, and has been offering Apple Pay since April 2016.

A spokesperson from Bendigo and Adelaide Bank told iTWire that it was the first of the banks to have Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay and Osko as the full suite of digital payment options.

Southey added: "We continually listen to customer feedback which helps inform us on how we can make banking simpler and easier. It’s this feedback that helps guide our decision-making on the new features and services we deliver, giving customers greater convenience through the channel of their choice, at the times convenient for them.

"To achieve this we make a significant and ongoing investment in our digital banking channels; whether that's through new features into our mobile banking app like real-time payments transfers, improved credit card management controls, payment notifications or through voice assistants like Amazon Alexa.

He claimed NAB was the first of the big four banks to commence a pilot with Alipay. "We’ve commenced pilot testing with a group of our business merchant customers and planning for a full roll-out later this year," he said.

The Westpac spokesperson said: "With more than 2.5 million Westpac customers using mobile banking, it is part of our ongoing strategy to provide our customers with the technology and tools to make their banking simpler and faster.

"We are committed to giving our customers more choice through supporting a range of convenient payment solutions. This includes Westpac for iMessage, wearable payment devices and our recently launched Siri for Westpac, as well as our joint venture with Beem It."

ANZ was also contacted to find out what digital payment options it offers apart from Apple Pay, but the bank's media contacts did not respond to iTWire's query. This lack of a response appears to be due to a technical glitch which blocked an email from arriving; an ANZ spokesman pointed out to iTWire that the bank had indeed responded and well in time.

In that email, the spokesman said: "In 2016 ANZ was the first major Australian bank to offer Apple Pay and Google Pay to customers. We followed this up in 2017 with the launch of Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay.

"In 2018, ANZ made it possible for customers to withdraw cash from its 2400 ATMs across Australia using a smartphone or watch with Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay or Garmin Pay.

"Over the past 12 months, ANZ has maintained its position as a leader on mobile payments with more than 88 million transactions completed."

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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