Google Play Store Changes Could Make Your App Subscriptions Cheaper

Instead of having to vet each mobile provider, developers will be able to automate the process with some help from Google, which will also help lower developer fees.

Developers can now charge their users through an Android app, which could lead to cost savings for those who subscribe to their apps. Starting with Spotify and Bumble, Google is now allowing developers to run their billing code using their technology.

Google explained that the new option, called User Choice Billing, or UCB, would allow apps downloaded from their Play Store to let users subscribe and get billed for services within the app. Businesses can still pay service fees to Google — 15% of revenue made in the Play Store for the first $1 million in annual earnings and 30% for everything after — but those fees are lowered by 4% with transactions made through an app through UCB, according to support documents.

It’s up to companies whether they’ll pass those savings on to users. In Spotify ‘s blog post explaining the new option to subscribe within its Android app, the company did not mention whether it would reduce its service tiers to accommodate cost savings from subscription purchases made on Android. To be fair, Spotify did not increase prices when Google increased its take. Bumble did not announce plans for variable consumer-based currencies and did not respond to request for comment.

This will be new territory for both Apple and Google, as it will be the first time subscriptions were directly sold through apps. They’ve tried to suffocate this nascent market with exceedingly strict terms of service in their stores, but these concessions are a hedge against that.

Regardless of this latest development, Google and Spotify are both positioning User Choice Billing as a convenience for the user. The Android team started inviting developers of non-gaming apps to participate in a pilot program to help users in US, India, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and Europe experience UCB for now.

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