Google announced that it will allow the use of alternative payment methods in the Play Store, its store of applications, games, books and movies. At first it will be on a trial basis and will be limited to a very small number of developers, starting with Spotify as the first ally.
As explained by the Mountain View company, the pilot program User Choice Billing will allow the public to choose how to pay for a purchase made within an app. Thus, they will be able to opt for the payment gateway that Google has always offered, or take advantage of a third-party option provided by the developers of the application in question.
In this way, the Play Store will expand to other countries what is already available in South Korea. Let us remember that last year the so-called Anti-Google Law was passed, which forces the company —and also Apple— to offer alternative payment methods in its application stores.
What Google is now proposing could be considered a nod to regulators, given the growing pressure in different parts of the world. However, various details of User Choice Billing have yet to be disclosed; among them, the specific date of its launch, and the changes in relation to the payment of commissions.
Why has Google chosen Spotify as its first ally?
The inclusion of alternative payment methods in the Play Store is a long-awaited move by many companies, though arguably none have been as vocal on the subject as Spotify. In fact, the popular music and podcast streaming platform has also publicly crossed Apple for its policies around the App Store.
According to Google, Spotify will allow its users to buy their subscriptions and choose how to pay for them, either through the Play Store or with the service's own method. The idea is that this possibility reaches the 184 countries in which Spotify Premium is available, although the process would be gradual.
“As one of the world's largest subscription developers with a global footprint and integrations across a wide range of device form factors, they are a natural first partner. Together, we will work to innovate how consumers make in-app purchases, provide engaging experiences on multiple devices and attract more consumers to the Android platform”, they explained about the alliance with Spotify.
From the streaming service they also were hopeful with the arrival of alternative payment methods to the Play Store. “Spotify has publicly advocated for platform fairness and expanded payment options, among other things, because fair and open platforms enable better experiences for consumers and enable developers to grow and prosper – when this happens, everyone wins.” “, they assured.
Alternative payment methods reach the Play Store
Photo by Adrien on Unsplash As we mentioned earlier, several details of the addition of alternative payment methods to the Play Store are still unknown. Although Google confirmed to TechCrunch that developers will still have to pay commissions even if they use a third-party payment gateway, no specific percentage has been mentioned.
As with other application and digital content stores, the slice that Mountain View takes can be up to 30%. However, last year Californians announced that they would reduce it to 15%, both for the sale of apps and subscriptions. Now it will be necessary to see how much more it is reduced for the implementation of other payment options; in South Korea the reduction was no more than 4%, according to the aforementioned report.
The inclusion of alternative payment methods in the Play Store will take a few months, as explained by Spotify. Streaming service engineers will work alongside their peers at Google for the first phase of this pilot program. “We anticipate launching the first iteration of User Choice Billing later this year,” they said.
Now it remains to be seen if Apple picks up the gauntlet and makes a similar determination for the future. Although those from Cupertino have received the order to allow third-party payment platforms in the App Store, nothing has changed at the moment . Remember that the company already allowed developers to report alternative methods, but not apply them in their apps. Meanwhile, Paddle continues to generate interest as a possible rival to the apple system; according to its CEO, they have already added more than 1,500 developers, when it has not yet started to work.