Google Dual Billing System Pilot has been rolled out. Google announced the new pilot project to explore alternate payment methods for in-app purchases as regulators across the world up the ante against major mobile app stores to allow third-party billing systems inside apps.
The pilot will first roll out on Spotify’s app, a developer that has been particularly vocal against Google and Apple’s handling of payment methods on in-app purchases.
Google plans a pilot to allow app developers to integrate google dual billing systems for their apps for in-app purchases and subscriptions. This will allow app developers to offer users the choice of making payments for purchases either via Google’s Play Store, or any other billing system. This is not entirely new as a concept, but the application will be global.
Spotify to pilot Google Dual Billing System on its in-app purchases
On Google’s Play Store, as well as on Apple’s App Store, developers have so far been allowed to introduce their own payment methods as the two companies have forced them to use their proprietary billing system for in-app purchases.
This allows Google and Apple to keep a cut of the transactions as commission which in some cases, could go as high as 30 per cent, something that developers have openly criticised. However, it is worth noting that Google recently lowered its app store fees for all subscription-based services to 15 per cent from 30 per cent, effective January 1, 2022.
The penalty to violate this rule is typically suspension from both app stores, which Epic Games faced in 2020 after it introduced its own in-app payment method in its popular game Fortnite.
In South Korea, Google offers dual billing choices to developers, complying with the country’s new laws. “This pilot will allow a small number of participating developers to offer an additional billing option next to Google Play’s billing system and is designed to help us explore ways to offer this choice to users while maintaining our ability to invest in the ecosystem,” said Google’s product management vice president Sameer Samat.
Spotify, the popular music streaming app globally, has confirmed it is on-board the trial for dual billing methods. It will be able to offer in-app subscriptions on Android phones, something it has not done for a while because of the streaming giant’s stand that the commission for subscriptions forced it to raise the prices for subscribers.
Now it will also have another billing system, which may allow the developers better value in terms of revenue sharing. Spotify has confirmed it plans to launch the first iteration of User Choice Billing systems this year when in-app purchases should be available within the app.
Google’s announcement comes on the heels of a recent legislation passed in South Korea which forces Google and Apple to open their app stores to alternative payment systems, among other things. While Google has complied with the South Korean law, this new pilot means that Google would test a similar system in global markets, including India.
The move is also expected to put increased pressure on Apple which has so far forced its own payment method on developers.
While Google will allow Spotify to have its own billing system within the app, it will continue to keep a commission from transactions made using that method. At the moment it isn’t clear what Google’s share would be from such alternate payment methods. The company said it plans to share more details “in the coming months”.
For reference, even though Google has allowed developers to have a third-party payment system in South Korea, it still charges a commission of around 11 per cent on in-app purchases made through those alternate billing systems.