Google will allow alternative payment systems for Play Store in more countries – TechCrunch

Google today announced the expansion of the User Choice Billing program for Play Store – which allows users to choose alternative payment systems for in-app purchases – to India, Australia, Indonesia, Japan and the European Economic Area. The company is calling on all non-gaming developers around the world to apply for this program, and if eligible, they can use third-party payment systems in the regions mentioned above.

The search giant introduced a similar policy for developers and non-gaming users in the EEA region in July. The new directives are an extension of this. The company has provided a 3% discount on fees for developers using third-party billing in the EEA region. In the new announcement, the company said “reasonable service charges will continue to apply,” but didn’t mention any numbers. The company said it would reveal more details about it in the coming weeks and months.

This information is critical for many developers, as the percentage cut Google takes will determine whether they want to go through the hassle of switching payment processors.

The company said that over 99% of developers on the Play Store are eligible for fees of 15% or less, but the top 1% of developers generate a lot of revenue on the Play Store. Google takes a 15% cut on any developer’s first million dollars each year. It then charges 30% after the first $1 million developer revenue for the year. Some developers eligible for the Google Play Media Experience program, which includes apps with books, audio, and video, only pay a 10% fee.

While this new expansion includes some of the biggest Android markets like India and Indonesia, it ignores the US market where lawmakers are exploring rules to limit Apple and Google’s monopoly on app stores. In July, the company agreed to a $90 million settlement with US-based developers over Play Store fees.

“Android has always been a unique open operating system, and we continue to evolve our platform and increase the choices available to developers and users, while maintaining our ability to invest in the ecosystem. We will share more in the coming months as we continue to build and iterate with our pilot partners,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

The company first piloted this program with Spotify in March and said it would slowly make third-party billing available in all markets where Spotify Premium is available. Later in May, Google also struck a deal with Match Group over its apps offering alternative payment options for in-app purchases.

Google already offers a third-party payment system on the Play Store for users based in South Korea after the country passed a law prohibiting companies from imposing a payment system for in-app purchases. However, the company offers a 4% discount on development fees in South Korea.

Like Spotify’s third-party billing driver, Google will work with developers to gradually make this option available to users – there’s no official timeline for that yet. Thus, users may not immediately see several payment options. Once available, users will see different payment systems right in the app and they can decide which one to use based on the fees and features they offer. If they choose to use an alternative payment system, they will need to contact the provider regarding payment issues, refunds and cancellations.

Google introduced mandatory Google Play billing globally from June 1, but given the new announcement, developers will be able to use other payment processors in their apps for approved regions.

The Mountain View-based giant’s decision to introduce third-party billing in multiple regions will spur Apple to take similar steps. The iPhone maker is currently offering alternative billing to dating apps in the Netherlands, reading apps in Japan and all apps in South Korea after being forced by local regulators.

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