Apple Pay has theoretically been available in Australia for a couple of years now, but the rollout has largely been stalled by the country’s Big Four banks (ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac), which have so far played hard-to-get, insisting on negotiating better terms with the Cupertino giant before offering the service to their customers.
And while ANZ finally struck a deal with Apple mid last year customers of the other three have been left hanging as the disagreement approaches its third year.
A new twist in the saga has seen a key Westpac banking feature being banned by the Cupertino giant.
Apple has informed Westpac that it needs to disable its Keyboard feature, which was launched only in March this year in partnership with Israeli startup PayKey.
The feature wasn’t directly related to Apple Pay, instead giving customers banking options within popular messaging apps like SnapChat, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger.
It allowed users to send money to each other via chat apps by changing the default keyboard to a custom one that plugged into Westpac’s banking app and payment platform. Currently, this version of the Westpac app is available only on iOS, but an Android version is said to be on the cards, with the bank has stated that it will be made available to customers soon.
A Westpac spokesperson told the AFR, "This is disappointing for us and the thousands of customers who are currently using it. We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused and thank them for their continued support."
The move by Apple is likely to deliver a significant blow to Westpac’s attempts to attract younger customers.