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New program eases Play Store Billing requirement in Europe

Google Play Store home page on Android and Chrome OS
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google allows developers to use alternative billing systems for users in the EEA.
  • Developers opting for alternative systems will be subject to a 3% reduction in billing fees.
  • The move follows the recent passing of the Digital Markets Act.

Google has been under fire for requiring developers to use Play Store billing for in-app purchases. However, the company has been slowly easing up on this requirement, and the company's latest move marks a significant win for developers.

On Tuesday, the company announced that it's letting developers choose alternative billing systems for users in the European Economic Area (EEA). This would apply to non-gaming apps, and developers would have to meet certain "protection requirements" to qualify.

As such, developers choosing to utilize alternative billing would have to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) for credit and debit payments. Developers must also provide customer support and allow users to dispute unauthorized transactions.

Google notes that developers using alternative billing would still be subject to fees "in order to support our investments in Android and Play." However, developers would see a 3% fee reduction from 15% to 12% (or lower). Google notes that 99% of developers already qualify for a 15% of lower billing fee.

The move to allow developers to use their own billing system follows the recent passing of the Digital Markets Act, which prohibits "gatekeepers" from self-preferencing on their own platforms, among other guidelines. While this isn't slated to go into effect "for some time," Google says it's launching the program now to ensure that it meets the needs of developers and complies with the new bill.

Developers able to sign up for the program by filling out a declaration form. However, the alternative billing will not be available to users outside of the EEA.

Late last year, South Korea introduced a bill mandating that Google allow alternative billing in the country. The search giant also partnered with Spotify to test ways to let users choose which billing system they want to use.

Derrek Lee
Derrek Lee

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.