App developers on Google Play store offered payment choices following CMA investigation

April 21, 2023

In 2022, the CMA found that Google Play accounted for 30-40% of all net revenue generated by UK consumers using in-app payment systems. It also found that in 2021, Google Play’s average commission was between 25% and 30%.

Google Play accounts for over 90% of native app downloads on Android devices and restrictions placed on app developers currently require them to use Google Play’s own billing system for in-app transactions involving digital content.

The CMA is now consulting on commitments offered by Google which would give app developers the freedom to use alternatives to process in-app payments.

Under these new proposals app developers would be able to offer a different payment system of their choosing, known as “Developer-only Billing”, or offer users a choice between an alternative payment system and Google Play’s billing system, known as “User Choice Billing”. Third part payment providers would have the ability to market their services to app developers for processing transactions involving digital content, which the CMA says would enable greater innovation and competition for Google Play in-app payment services and allow app developers to have a more direct relationship with their customers.

By breaking the link between app developers’ access to Google Play and Google’s payment system, the commitments could allow Google Play users to access new special offers and in-app deals that are not permitted under current Google Play rules, allowing them to potentially save money and receive a different user experience while accessing paid-for digital content (such as streaming films and TV shows).

Before reaching a final decision, the CMA is consulting on whether these commitments will be appropriate, particularly for app-developers and third-party payment providers. The consultation ends on 19 May 2023.