This article was published on April 1, 2022

Google launches Play Store’s new billing system — and devs are footing the bill

Non-complaint apps will be removed on June 1

Google launches Play Store’s new billing system — and devs are footing the bill

Google Play’s new billing payment system policy starts today. This change forces developers to use the company’s own payment system for in-app purchases.

The update means that you can’t add links or sections in the app that redirect users to buy premium subscriptions from your site or alternative sources. In turn, you will have to pay a 15% or 30% fee (depending on your app’s category) to the search giant for facilitating these transactions.

Google first announced this in September 2020, giving developers a one-year window to make changes to their apps so Google Play Billing was the default payment system. Last year, it gave a six-month extension to some developers, extending the deadline date to March 31, 2022.

From today, the company’s new policy takes effect for everyone — and things are changing. For instance, if you’re using alternative payment methods, you can’t promote your plans on the app, or create links that’ll take users to that page.

Currently, Spotify has a premium section listed on its Android app that redirects users to its website. Technically, it has to remove this section from its app. But since it has struck a deal with Google to test out alternative billing methods, it might get a pass.

Spotify's Android App has links to its website to buy premium subscriptions.
Spotify’s Android App has links to its website to buy premium subscriptions.

You can read about the conditions on this page.

If your app fails to comply with Google’s policy by June 1, 2022, it’ll be removed from the Play Store.

Although, this isn’t the case everywhere in the world.

For developers in India, Google’s giving them until October 2022 to make the shift. But that could change as earlier this week, the Competition Comission of India (CCI) found the Big G’s billing conditions “unfair” and “discriminatory.”

Last year, South Korea passed a law to force Apple and Google to allow developers to include alternative payment methods in their apps. Google has complied with this, and will take an 11% cut if an app uses a third-party method.

Plenty of people are still angry at Google for how it distributes apps on the Play Store. Earlier this week, Epic Games criticized the company and said, “One deal does not change the anti-competitive status quo.”

ADIF (Alliance of Digital India Foundation), an industry body of the country’s startups, said it’s unfair that developers will have to pay commission fees, and mandatorily use Google’s system:

With their measures and announcements, Google is trying to create an illusion of choice. We at ADIF urge for an extension of choice to all apps and an immediate extension of the March 31 deadline for all.

As for Google, there’s no rest — as regulators across the world are looking to change the way app stores operate with stiff new rules.

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