The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has barred four domestic banks to collectively bargain with Apple and boycott its payment system, Apple Pay.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Westpac, National Australia Bank (NAB), and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank sought authorisation to bargain with Apple for access to the near-field communication (NFC) controller in iPhones, and access terms to the App Store.

The access to NFC controller would have enabled the banks to offer their own integrated digital wallets to iPhone customers in competition with Apple's digital wallet, without using Apple Pay.

In its final ruling on the case, the Australian competition watchdog said that the collective threat to boycott Apple was "likely to reduce or distort competition".

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said: “While the ACCC accepts that the opportunity for the banks to collectively negotiate and boycott would place them in a better bargaining position with Apple, the benefits would be outweighed by detriments.”