Labor senator Deb O'Neill warns Apple's dominance is a "sovereign risk", following revelations the tech giant forces banks and financial providers to sign gag orders on how much it makes on fees from digital wallet transactions.
The ire of concern over how much power the Silicon Valley giant has in Australia's economy was put on blast on Tuesday, after Commonwealth Bank fronted a joint senate committee claiming Apple was a threat to stifling competition and innovation.
CBA chief executive Matt Comyn told the mobile payments and digital wallets committee, that Apple makes banks and other financial institutions sign non-disclosure agreements regarding how much it charges for use of its digital wallet product.
Ms O'Neill told The Canberra Times the back-room deals conducted by Apple raised concerns about how much control the company has over the flow of money in the Australian economy.
"There is no transparency," she said.
"There is potential for a near monopoly, for Apple to have a profound and immediate impact on how money moves in our economy.
"In my book, that represents sovereign risk."
The NSW Labor senator flagged she is fearful the government is not keeping up with the rapid technological changes in the financial sector.
According to CBA, Apple accounts for 80 per cent of all digital transactions, which are payments made through phones, watches and other tech devices.
"Manufacturers of mobile handsets and associated software set the terms on which third parties can offer these app-based services, particularly with respect to payments for, and via, these services," Mr Comyn said in an opening statement.
"The thought that a single provider could have 80 per cent market share in an individual market usually calls for concern.
"They have tremendous market power and they use it."
Mr Comyn noted Apple prohibits third party digital wallets from accessing the near field communications (NFC) technology installed on iOS devices.
In contrast, rival Google allows third party digital wallet providers to access its NFC and Android technology, enabling consumers to have greater choice.
"This is a company that's market capitalisation is double Australia's gross domestic product and I would say in the context of [Australian] tax receipts, makes very little contribution," Mr Comyn said.
"Without even access to the NFC it simply is not possible to have a competing service."
Australian Finance Industry Association chief executive, Diane Tate said smaller players have expressed similar concerns over Apple's dominance and bargaining power.
"The immediate problem is the lack of transparency and the fees charged the providers to get access for their customers," Ms Tate said.
"The bigger problem is the potential for access to be closed, and what this would do to competition and innovation in financial services in Australia."
The ACCC during its questioning said it had concerns over competition, but has not launched any investigations.
Mr Comyn flagged regulators should implement a bargaining code for the industry.
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