Google Play Store changes could make your app subscriptions cheaper

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Google now allows developers to charge subscribers from their Android apps, starting with Spotify and Bumble. In return, Google reduces development costs less, which could lead to savings for users.

Google explained that the new option, called User Choice Billing, or UCB, would allow apps downloaded from the Play Store to allow users to subscribe and be charged for services within the app. Although developers still have to pay service charge to Google – 15% of revenue generated in the Play Store for the first $1 million in annual revenue and 30% thereafter – this fee is reduced by 4% for user transactions made in-app through UCB, according to vouchers.

It is up to companies to pass these savings on to users. In Spotify blog post explaining the new subscription option in its Android app, the company didn’t say if its in-app subscription tiers would be cheaper. To be fair, Spotify hasn’t hiked its prices to account for the cut Google is taking from purchases made on Android. Spotify did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication. Bumble did not make a public announcement about UCB’s implementation and did not respond to request for comment.

Even allowing developers to charge subscribers from apps, rather than routing them through the Play Store and allowing Google to take a full cut, is a concession. Google and Apple have been criticized for years over how much they paid for allowing apps into their stores, and both have clashed with developer Epic Games in court for authorizing third-party payment platforms.

Either way, Google and Spotify are positioning user-choice billing as a convenience for users. The Android team has begun inviting non-gaming app developers to participate in a pilot program for UCB, allowing users in the United States, India, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, Japan and Europe to try the option.

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