Australian banks denied access to NFC on iPhone. Now what?

On Friday 30 March 2017, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced that the country’s largest banks cannot collectively bargain with Apple over access to near field communication (NFC) technology on the iPhone, which would allow the banks to compete with Apple Pay. Rather than enhancing competition, this decision limits Australian consumers and impairs the banks’ profit margins as they now must share interchange revenue with Apple. Additionally, the banks will need to allocate development resources to integrate with Apple Pay and accept Apple’s onerous general terms and conditions of use.

An alternative approach to contactless payments

Fortunately, Australian banks still have a way to provide contactless or proximity payments to iPhone customers without requiring NFC. Bluechain has developed a mobile payments platform that leverages open communication networks such as Bluetooth, bypassing Apple’s restrictions on accessing the iPhone’s NFC technology. Bluechain offers cost-effective payment solutions for merchants, acquiring banks and card processors, as well as the following benefits:

  • Contactless. Using Bluetooth, the Bluechain app provides a contactless or proximity payment experience with a user’s mobile device, and provides the same experience to Android and Apple phone users.
  • Easy adoption. Bluechain is available on mobile and tablet devices for iOS, Android and Windows to make payments. And existing merchant terminals can be used without modification for POS.
  • Superior security. Bluechain’s patented security paradigm allows the consumer, not the merchant, to control transaction security. The result is a much safer transaction data flow that eliminates the most prevalent types of payment fraud.  Personal information is never given to or seen by a merchant, so there is no exposure to a Bluechain customer if a merchant is breached.
  • Rapidly deployable with reduced costs. No significant changes, technology modifications, or ongoing support are required to operate Bluechain.  You can be up and running almost instantaneously.  Existing merchant terminals can be used without modification for POS, and the incremental cost of deploying Bluechain are less than the savings achieved from lower fraud and interchange rates.
  • Single payment experience. In addition to its innovative mobile payment capabilities, Bluechain can handle all other transaction types (e.g. P2P, online/ecommerce) with the same seamless user experience and security features.

Bluechain provides an alternative to Apple Pay and the broader NFC issue that is more secure and encourages greater adoption for both merchants and consumers while maintaining (and even increasing) bank profit margins.

If you’re not happy with the ACCC decision, and would like an alternative to Apple Pay or are just looking to drive margin improvement across your lines of business, please contact us. We will quickly demonstrate how you can maintain control over your customers, technology and margins with Bluechain.