Australian Regulator ACCC Questions Apple Over Westpac Keyboard Ban

Apple has been asked for a clarification from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for banning Westpac Keyboard functionality from the bank’s app. The Westpac keyboard allowed the bank’s customers to make payments to their friends and family from within third-party apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter, and Snapchat.

Apple had informed Westpac in writing that it could not allow the Westpac Keyboard functionality within its app last week. The feature had turned out to be pretty popular among Westpac banking customers, with tens of thousands of customers installing the app in the first three months of its release.

Westpac has already started informing its customers that it will be shutting down the Westpac Keyboard functionality from July. A bank’s spokesman expressed his disappointment on this move from Apple despite the company getting the required go-ahead from Apple from a security viewpoint.¬†Sources suggest that the letter from Apple left the bank confused due to its generic nature.

“This is disappointing for us and the thousands of customers who are currently using it,” the spokesman said.¬†“We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused and thank them for their continued support.”

Interestingly, many other banking apps available on the App Store offer similar functionality as Westpac’s Keyboard. Thus, this unfair move from Apple has led the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to question Apple’s move.

Apple has already been involved in another tussle with Australian banks over the use of the NFC chip inside the iPhone. Major banks in Australia including Westpac, National Australia Bank, and others. The banks wanted Apple to open up the NFC chip inside the iPhone so that they could use it to offer their own mobile payment services which would have lived alongside Apple Pay.

Incidentally, Apple is launching a functionality similar to Westpac Keyboard with iOS 11. A new Apple Pay app in iMessage for iOS 11 will allow users to easily send money to their friends and family right from within the app.

[Via AFR, MacRumors]

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