I'm using an app that allows the user to sign up for a subscription. Doing that in the app the user is asked to type in their credit card information.


Is that allowed for a Play Store app? In Play Store terms it's stated that:

In general, the terms of Google Play allow you to sell in-app subscriptions only through the standard payment processor, Google payments.

I asked the app developer about this, but they replied with instructions for doing a subscription on iTunes (without having to type in credit card info).

  • The text you quote doesn't appear anywhere in the page you linked. – Dan Hulme May 24 '18 at 10:32

It's not clear from your question or the app description exactly what a premium subscription gets you, so I don't know if this applies to you, but there's an exception to the rule you quote. Purchases of goods or content that isn't just accessible through the app don't have to go through the in-app purchase system or Google Pay.

Quoting Google's Developer Policy Center:

  • Developers offering products within another category of app [other than games] downloaded on Google Play must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment, except for the following cases:

    • Payment is solely for physical products
    • Payment is for digital content that may be consumed outside of the app itself (e.g. songs that can be played on other music players).

If the subscription this app offers is for videos or music, or it's also available through their website, they don't have to use Google Pay.

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  • Well, according to that same policy document, if the content purchased is digital audio, video or photos that can be played with an external player, or if it’s a SaaS subscription that can be used outside of the app (e.g. on the web or on iOS), the vendor would be exempt from that constraint, wouldn’t they? – caw Aug 17 '18 at 4:06
  • @caw That's what my answer says, yes. – Dan Hulme Aug 17 '18 at 9:12
  • In practice, this is in contrast to what virtually every app does, though. And Google’s terms are not really clear with regard to whether this affects purchased media files only or application subscriptions as well. Take any large SaaS for consumers, e.g. Dropbox, and they will offer their subscriptions via Google Play exclusively. If they only wanted to offer a better user experience, and given that they could avoid Google’s 30% fee, they would probably offer direct payments via credit card as an alternative, at least. – caw Aug 17 '18 at 18:08
  • @caw Yet, I am aware of email service providers that charge for in app subscriptions and donations using CC. – HBSKan May 2 '19 at 3:36
  • @HBSKan Could you name some examples perhaps? Are these large (international) providers? – caw May 2 '19 at 6:52

Looking at the screenshot, that is not Google Play Payments (and therefore should not be trusted). Try sending an email to the developer that read something similar to this:

  • I would like to buy a subscription for your Android app (app name), but it does not use the standard Google Play payments system. I do not trust Android purchasing systems other then the Google Play purchasing system. If your do not switch your payment system, I will have your app flagged for using a 3rd party payments system.

According to the Google Play Developer contract, if they do not reply after 72 hours and/or do not change to the Google Play payment system, file a complaint against their app here and select "Third-party Payment" as the takedown reason.

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