Westpac, NAB prepare to open doors to Apple Pay

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Westpac, NAB prepare to open doors to Apple Pay

Future of Beem It uncertain.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia rivals Westpac and NAB are poised to flip their boycott of Apple Pay within weeks to head off a wave of defections from disgruntled transaction customers after they were ambushed on Friday by CBA’s unexpected backflip to take up the popular payment service.

Equities analysts are this week expected to issue recalibrated positions on where the CBA’s move to take up Apple Pay leaves the reignited dogfight between the big banks, with the Reserve Bank of Australia looking on carefully for how it will hit fees in the payments market.

Westpac moved swiftly on Monday to kick the door ajar to offering Apple Pay after its sustained boycott was gazumped by the CBA on Friday.

“We continually review how we help our customers with their mobile banking needs and remain open to considering Apple Pay in the future,” a Westpac spokesperson told iTnews.

“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.”

Meanwhile the NAB is playing a straight bat to the CBA’s ambush, but also would not rule out offering Apple Pay in the future.

“We continue to listen to and make decisions based on the feedback we hear from our customers,” a NAB spokesperson said.

“We are continually looking 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 Apple Pay we’ll let our customers know.”

However whether Beem It – the joint venture counter play to Apple Pay backed by CBA, NAB and Westpac – has a long term future is difficult to say, given two of its three backers now look poised to offer a directly competing service.

Created in March 2018 and launched in May that year and trumpeted as “Australia’s first fintech venture founded collaboratively by leading Australian banks”, the person-to-person Apple Pay spoiler only announced its first chief executive Angela Clark in October.

Clark was picked for the role after joining the CBA’s ranks as an executive general manager for the small business segment for its retail bank – then headed by now CBA chief executive Matt Comyn who is widely viewed as pulling the plug on the unsuccessful boycott.

Clark has some experience in the disruption industry.

According to Beem It’s announcement of Clark’s appointment, prior to arriving at the CBA she was at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) “where she was responsible for the ABC’s digital strategy and delivery of its digital customer experience.”

“I believe that the best innovation and technology helps us be more human, not less so.

"Beem It has a customer-first vision for making everyday payments moments an enjoyable and seamless experience. This lets our users focus on the experience itself, rather than the payment,” Clark said on the appointment.

Comment has been sought from Beem It.

More to come.

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