Developers can now charge US users in-app payments through the Google Play Store without having to use the Google payment gateway. According to the company’s statement, the 4 percent commission on microtransactions via the services’ payment systems will be decreased.
This is a major concession from Google. It sets the Play Store owner apart form Apple, who has yet to allow third party payment systems to be used on the App Store in most of its countries. The battle with Apple will continue even if Spotify, the music streaming company, was able to reach an agreement with Google to start a pilot project that would accept third-party payment systems.
However, Google’s decision can’t be called radical either: developers want to accept payments directly and leave no fees for app store owners – the same Spotify actively opposes this practice, calling it anti-competitive. Even though the company is angry at Apple, Apple forces developers in most countries to use their payment system. This is only South Korea’s exception to the rule. This policy is justified by Apple because it respects the privacy and security of its users.
In March, Google announced a joint User Choice Billing program to accept payments through third-party platforms Spotify and Google. The program is now fully operational in Brazil, South Africa and the US. Google opened the program to other app developers in September. As long as their payment interface is compliant with Google’s guidelines, they will be able to participate. According to the Android Developers Blog, Bumble has joined the program as a new member.