The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has come good on its payments capitulation to Cupertino, announcing that Apple Pay has become available to all CBA and Bankwest customers from today - however eftpos customers can't come along for the ride.
In a surprise decision that will overwhelmingly favour US payments giant Mastercard, CBA customers have been restricted to using credit card scheme rails despite the bank's major push to keep domestic payment alternatives alive.
Customers were quick to spot the omission.
Hi Alexander, Marie here. You can use a Debit MasterCard but not your KeyCard (EFTPOS). Cheers— CommBank (@CommBank) January 22, 2019
My eftpos card don’t work tho— fireinthehole2580 (@n02c0p3r6969) January 23, 2019
It also appears business cards are also not yet plugged in.
I can’t add my Visa Business Debit card. Why?— Audio Magic (@audiomagicau) January 22, 2019
The omission of the much-loved "Chq or Savings" option comes despite arch rival ANZ revealing last week that it had added eftpos functionality to its Apple Pay service, a move that means they can withdraw cash from ANZ ATMs using the tap function on their iPhones.
CBA is also yet to add NFC authentication to its ATM fleet and appears unlikely to do so before an anticipated switch to a common ATM utility provider by major banks.
It's been a bumpy road for CBA's Apple Pay journey.
Australia’s largest retail bank dropped the consumer payments bombshell in the days before Christmas, timing that maximised publicity while temporarily avoiding ceding meaty transaction fees in the peak shopping season back to Apple.
However the activation of Apple Pay by CBA immediately increases pressure on rival institutions NAB and Westpac to follow suit as banks look to snatch retail customers from each other amidst a sluggish mortgage market and falling house prices.
Those rivals will also be weighing up whether or not to include eftpos on their anticipated Apple Pay launches.
The decision by CBA to finally offer Apple Pay demolished a three bank boycott of the phone maker’s service as institutions held out over Apple’s high cut of processing fees that extract from merchants.
Previously ANZ had been the only major bank to offer Apple Pay, refusing to join the boycott after an attempt to gain regulatory air cover for a collective price negotiation stand by the banking oligopoly was unceremoniously booted by the competition regulator.
“We’re continuing to make mobile banking and payments simpler and easier for our customers with the launch of Apple Pay, alongside the CommBank app, rated number one in Australia and number three globally,” said the head of CBA’s retail bank Angus Sullivan.
“In 2019, customers can expect us to continue listening, innovating, and providing the best possible experiences when they bank with us.”
Apple was happy to give CBA a public pat on the head for finally coming to its payments party, but couldn’t resist emphasising its global dominance in handset payments.
“We are excited to welcome Commonwealth Bank customers to Apple Pay, the number one mobile contactless payment service worldwide,” said Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services.
“Customers can now take advantage of the speed, convenience and security that Apple Pay offers when making payments on the Apple devices they love to use every day.”
The move by Australian banks to embrace Apple Pay follows a charm offensive launched by Apple towards institutions last year that culminated at the massive SIBOS conference in Sydney behind a thick curtain of security.