An Australian government-commissioned report into digital payments systems has made a number of recommendations, one of which suggested actively regulating Apple Pay and other similar digital payments services. Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that the recommendations would be carefully considered:
Ultimately, if we do nothing to reform the current framework, it will be Silicon Valley alone that determines the future of our payments system, a critical piece of our economic infrastructure.
Under current Australian law, the likes of Apple Pay are not classified as payment systems, putting them outside payment regulations. Classifying Apple Pay as a payment system would clarify the regulatory status of digital wallets in Australia and allow the government to explicitly designate big tech companies as payment providers.
Other recommendations, contingent on classifying Apple Pay as a payment system, look to establish a strategy for the country’s wider payments ecosystem with a single, integrated licensing framework.
Australian banks such as the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia have previously raised concerns around the growth of digital wallets with “competition issues” and purported safety implications. Earlier this year, an Australian Parliamentary Committee considered forcing Apple to open up the iPhone‘s NFC chip to support third-party payment systems in an effort to promote competition.
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