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What Australia Is Saying to Banks On Its Apple Pay Battle So Far

August 19, 2016, 3:52 AM UTC
220,000 Stores Start Accepting Apple Pay
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 20: A worker demonstrates Apple Pay inside a mobile kiosk sponsored by Visa and Wells Fargo to demonstrate the new Apple Pay mobile payment system on October 20, 2014 in San Francisco City. Apple's Apple Pay mobile payment system launched today at select banks and retail outlets. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images/ File

Australia’s anti-trust regulator on Friday said it would not grant the country’s three biggest banks interim approval to collectively negotiate with Apple (AAPL) to install their own electronic payments applications on iPhones.

Australia’s three biggest banks, including the number one lender National Australia Bank (NAB) (NATIONAL-AUSTRALIA-BANK), last month lodged a joint application seeking permission to negotiate as a bloc from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC said that its decision not to grant the banks the interim ruling was not indicative of whether the full ruling, expected in October, would be successful or not.

“The ACCC has considered interim authorization within a short time frame at the request of the applicants,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

See also: Why Australia’s Biggest Banks Are Going After Apple

“However, given the complexity of the issues and the limited time available, the ACCC has decided not to grant interim authorization at this time. The ACCC requires more time to consult and consider the views of industry, consumers, and other interested parties.

Apple, which operates its own Apple Pay mobile wallet, does not allow third-party electronic payment apps to be loaded onto to the hugely popular smartphones. The banks are seeking to be able to negotiate jointly for access to Apple’s phones without themselves being accused of violating anti-competition law.

See also: Apple Pay Just Expanded in Australia

For more on Apple Pay, watch Fortune’s video:

The three Australian banks contend that while Apple allows apps on iPhones using other commonplace technology, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, restricting the technology through which mobile wallets function – known as Near Field Technology – constitutes anti-competitive behaviour.

Australia and New Zealand Bank (AUSTRALIA-NEW-ZEALAND-BANKING-GROUP), which signed a deal to use the Apple Pay system in April, is the only one of the country’s “Big Four” banks not to join the action. The country’s second-biggest lender, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, (CMWAY) and number three, Westpac Banking Corp (WEBNF), have joined with NAB.

A spokesman for the banks said they would continue their ongoing consultations with the ACCC until the final determination is made.

A spokeswoman for Apple in Sydney declined to comment on the announcement.