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Australia to bring digital payment services such as Apple Pay under regulatory umbrella covering credit cards

Australia's government said today it would bring Apple Pay, Google Pay and other digital payment services under the same regulatory umbrella as credit cards and other payments as part of legislation set to be introduced to parliament this week.

Australia’s government said today it would bring Apple Pay, Google Pay and other digital payment services under the same regulatory umbrella as credit cards and other payments as part of legislation set to be introduced to parliament this week, reports Reuters.

The legislation will broaden the legislation that empowers the Reserve Bank of Australia to regulate payments so that it applies to new and emerging technology.

“We are modernizing Australia’s payments system to ensure it meets the needs of our economy now and into the future,” Treasurer Jim Chalmers said in a statement to Reuters. “We want to make sure the increasing use of digital payments occurs in a way that helps promote greater competition, innovation and productivity across our entire economy.”

On June 7, the Australian Government released its Strategic Plan for Australia’s Payments System, outlining the Government’s policy objectives and priorities for reform. Pushing back against the proposal being considered by the government to extend Reserve Bank powers to digital payment platforms, Apple said the move could backfire by weakening the privacy and security of iPhones.

The rules will affect Apple Wallet, Apple Pay, and similar services by companies other than Apple. Current rules by the Australian government don’t allow the government to impose rules on tech firms regarding smartphone access and price regulation.

In its argument against the new plan, Apple says its Wallet is effectively a “digital reproduction of a physical wallet, and no more a payment system or participant than an actual physical wallet would be,” notes the Financial Review. What’s more, the company claims that the design of Apple Wallet is meant to be pro-competitive, since it allows smaller banks and fintech companies more access, as well as more choice in what card they use. Finally, Apple argues that Apple Pay is a limited player in the mobile payments system, so doesn’t create a financial risk to banks.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.