Apple has asked Westpac to withdraw its unique keyboard that otherwise enabled users to make payments directly from within messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Snapchat or Facebook Messenger. Westpac happens to be one of the four major banks in operation in Australia.
Apple hasn’t stated in clear terms exactly what it objected to with the Westpac keyboard though experts opine the move could have to do with the company’s own Apple Pay feature that is set to debut with iOS 11. With the new enhanced Apple Pay, iPhone users will be able to make payments over iMessage.
Maybe Apple wished to make person-to-person payments on iOS over a chat platform exclusive to them. The iPhone maker also hasn’t stated if they wish to allow other messaging applications to make use of the feature. The new Apple Pay feature is set to debut by the end of the year.
Westpac’s immediate response has been that of utter disappointment and said the development will adversely affect its plan to latch on to the young generation. The bank will have time till July to remove the contentious keyboard in question.
As for the keyboard itself, what had made it special is that it acted as sort of a bridge between the messaging platform to the banking application, or specifically its online payment section. This way, anyone who wished to send money will have the standard keyboard replaced with the secure Westpac keyboard to complete the transaction.
Apple’s move to ban the Westpac keyboard will have its ramifications felt in the Israel-based start-up PayKey that the Australian bank collaborated with in developing the keyboard. PayKey had just announced having secured about half of a $10 million targeted funding round which was centered around its Westpac commitment, among others.
The Westpac keyboard, however, is an iOS exclusive as of now though the bank said an Android version is also in the making, and that it would be launched soon.
Meanwhile, Apple’s banning of the Westpac keyboard can be seen as further straining of its relation with banks in Australia. The Cupertino company has been at loggerheads with the four of Australia’s biggest banks – ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and Westpac – over terms of using the iOS platform, or the iPhone in particular in making online payments.