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At Google Play we are constantly working to help connect our users with apps and games they’ll love, and providing important security protections. We also invest in a global commerce infrastructure that enables them to safely, securely and reliably pay for their purchases. For developers, we invest in comprehensive tools, resources and infrastructure that help them build great apps, lower their development costs and grow their businesses. Listening carefully to developer and user feedback is integral to how we continue to improve how the Play Store works.

Since we posted a clarification to Google Play Payments policy, we have heard some additional questions from the community in India. To help deepen the community's understanding of the Google Play Payments policy, we have collated answers to the most common questions we hear from our developers.

Who does the Google Play Billing policy apply to?

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Who does the Google Play Billing policy apply to?

All Indian apps on Google Play that are not free to download, or that charge for the in-app purchase of digital goods or services, are required to use Google Play Billing and are subject to the service fee. However, this isn’t something new -- it has been a policy since Google Play started. Google Play’s Billing policy has always required developers to use Google Play's billing system for in-app purchases of digital goods. But we have heard feedback that our policy language could be more clear regarding which types of transactions require the use of Google Play’s billing system, and that the current language was causing confusion. We want to be sure our policies are clear and up to date so they can be applied consistently and fairly to all developers, and so we have clarified the language in our Payments Policy to be more explicit that all developers selling digital goods in their apps are required to use Google Play’s billing system.

This means that the fee does not apply to 97% of apps worldwide, as they do not sell digital goods or services. Of the remaining 3%, an overwhelming majority - 97% - already use Google Play Billing. We are working with the remaining developers to bring them into compliance with the clarified Google Play billing policy. In India, as elsewhere, only a small minority of apps (<1%, according to our current estimates and publicly available information) are currently not in compliance with the Play billing policy - they will have ample time, until 31 March 2022, to comply.

Some examples of app features or services requiring use of Google Play's billing system include:

  • Digital Items (such as virtual currencies, extra lives, additional playtime, add-on items, characters and avatars)
  • Online subscription services (such as game, dating, education, music, video, and other content subscription services)
  • Additional app functionality or content (such as an ad-free version of an app or new features not available in the free version)
  • Cloud software and services (such as data storage services, business productivity software, and financial management software)

The service fee does not apply:

  • If a developer decides to distribute their product for free (i.e., no charge at the point of download and no in-app purchases)
  • If a user downloads a freemium app but does not make an in-app purchase. A freemium app is a free app that offers additional paid functionality on top of a free basic version.

In addition, there are following exceptions to the service fee:

  • The purchase or rental of physical goods (such as groceries, clothing, housewares, electronics)
  • The purchase of services rendered in the physical world (such as transportation services, cleaning services, airfare, gym memberships, food delivery, tickets for live events)

What forms of payments are supported after the adoption of Google Play Billing?

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What forms of payments are supported after the adoption of Google Play Billing?

Google Play’s Billing system supports numerous forms of payment (FOPs) including debit and credit cards, netbanking, UPI (including all supported apps such as Paytm, PhonePe, Mobikwik and others), carrier billing, and gift cards. While we do not currently offer mobile wallets, we are open to integrating wallets and other popular forms of payment subject to prevailing legal and regulatory framework, and continue to work with regulators toward making this happen. Additional forms of payment such as recurring payments as enabled by UPI are on the roadmap for inclusion to the suite of payment options available on Google Play store.


Can apps take users to in-app browsers or websites to make payments?

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Can apps take users to in-app browsers or websites to make payments?

Apps are free to offer one version of their service through Google Play store, while offering the same service at a lower price or with additional content or features outside of Google Play, e.g. on their websites.

If an app is consumption-only, developers can freely communicate these offers to users. Consumption-only apps are those that do not offer in-app purchases, instead sell services only outside of the app. These consumption-only apps do not have to use Google Play Billing or pay the service fee. If an app sells a subscription outside of Play, users can sign into their app on Google Play using their existing account, and access the in-app content acquired from another platform.

Though, Google does require apps not to:

  • Inform users within the app about offers and alternate payment methods available elsewhere
  • Redirect users to alternate payment methods from within the app

Why does Google charge this service fee?

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Why does Google charge this service fee?

The fee helps Google to provide services and tools that enable developers to better engage and serve their users. Such as:

  • Development & Support Tools: Through Android and Play, Google provides cutting-edge app development, analytics and testing, and quality control tools. These include the Android Software Development Kit, Android Studio, and the Play Console.
  • Hosting & Distribution Infrastructure: Play provides the technical infrastructure to host and distribute apps globally, and to keep those apps updated.
  • Trust & Safety: Developers can only be successful on Google Play as long as users trust the platform. That’s why we’ve built tools like Google Play Protect, which scans over 100 billion apps every day, and last year prevented more than 1.9 billion malware installs from non-Play sources.
  • Enabling Discovery: Play provides an important channel for users to discover apps and for developers to gain access to a large, global customer base.
  • Managing Compliance: Play manages a wide variety of compliance requirements for developers, which enables them to safely distribute their apps globally.
  • Safe & Secure Payments: If developers choose to charge for their apps, they can use the consistent, safe and secure payment processor offered by Play that gives users the choice between a variety of payment options. Google Play Billing supports more than 290 forms of payment globally.

Are third party app stores supported on Android in India?

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Are third party app stores supported on Android in India?

Choice has always been central to Android. From the very start, Android was designed to be open, providing developers the freedom and flexibility to distribute apps through other Android app stores, directly via websites, or device preloads, all without using Google Play Billing. On Android, developers aren’t required to use Google Play and they can distribute through other app stores. In fact, the majority of Android devices come with two or more app stores right out of the box. Developers can also preload their apps on devices by working directly with OEMs or carriers. Consumers can also make purchases through alternative app stores, such as those run by mobile carriers or Android device makers; the Google Play service fee doesn’t apply here either. Some examples of other app stores for Android include SlideMe, 1Mobile, Airtel App Central, Aircel Pocket Apps, Samsung Galaxy Store, Xiaomi’s GetApps, Amazon Appstore, and Mobile9.


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