Why every Australian bank will have to offer Apple Pay

Angus Kidman 11 May 2016

ApplePayBoomShutterstock

ANZ is booming thanks to the contactless payment system.

Australians have been forced to wait a long time for Apple Pay, the only officially sanctioned way to make contactless payments with your iPhone. It has been available in the US since 2014, but a long-running argument over what cut Apple would get from banks meant that we didn't see any options at all until November 2015, when American Express enabled the service. But even then there was a catch: you could only use it with cards issued by American Express itself, not those from other banks.

Last month, ANZ became the first of the Big Four Australian banks to offer Apple Pay to its credit card customers. It's not known how tightly ANZ got squeezed by Apple on interchange fees, but the decision appears to have been worth it.

At its results announcement last week, ANZ officials were gloating about the success of Apple Pay. Online applications for credit cards have gone up 20% since the launch, the SMH reported.

That's not surprising. Because Apple controls its development ecosystem so tightly, the only option for iPhone owners wanting to make contactless payments is Apple Pay. And given that the iPhone is the most popular phone in Australia, banks will want to tap into that market (as well as accessing Android customers via Android Pay, Samsung Pay or their own custom apps).

So in the end, we can expect CommBank, NAB and Westpac to cut some sort of deal with Apple. The alternative is to essentially give up on the iPhone market, and that's simply not commercially feasible. The real irony? Apple itself may not make much money from Apple Pay in the long run anyway.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

Picture: Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com

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