Google Play extends deadline for Indian apps to adhere to billing system

Google Play extends deadline for Indian apps to adhere to billing system
Photo Credit: Reuters
5 Oct, 2020

Technology giant Google has extended the deadline for Indian apps to adhere to Google Play’s billing system to March 31, 2022, following criticism from startup founders.

On September 29, Google announced that applications on its Android store, which offer in-app purchase of digital goods, must only use the technology firm’s billing system, which charges a 30% service fee on all transactions.   

While the system has been in place since years, the firm, whose mobile operating system is used in over 95% of devices in India, said it is strictly enforcing the rule now.

The Mountain View, California-based company will set up listening sessions with startups to understand their concerns, Purnima Kochikar, director of business development of games and applications at Google Play, said in a statement.

“We’re also extending the time for developers in India to integrate with the Play billing system to ensure they have enough time to implement the UPI for subscription payment option… for all apps that currently use an alternative payment system, we set a timeline of March 31, 2022,” Kochikar said.

The system, she said, will impact only 3% of businesses on Google Play, who either charge users for app downloads or sell in-app digital items. 

Small decisions made by big players can have a serious ripple effect in the entire industry, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, when startups are under severe budget constraints, Vaibhav Vasa, director of Indian SaaS-based mobile app Biz Analyst, told TechCircle.

“SaaS module companies in India have less margin on the app pricing, so if they have to pay an additional 30% to Google then this increase will directly impact the end customers i.e SMBs (small and medium businesses),” he said.

Earlier today, Paytm launched a Mini App Store, which offers users access to mobile websites of over 300 third party Android applications. The development comes weeks after Paytm was temporarily taken off Google Play, reportedly over gambling policy violations.