Google Opens Play Store to Third-Party Payment Systems in EU

Google today announced it would let app developers use third-party payment systems for non-gaming apps on the Play Store in the European Economic Area (EEA) — reports TechCrunch.

The decision comes after the European Union (EU) passed the Digital Markets Act (DMA) earlier this month. Among other things, the DMA prohibits operators of app distribution platforms like the Play Store and Apple’s App Store from forcing developers to use their payment services.

In a blog post announcing the move, Google said the DMA will force “Google Play and other industry players to adjust their current operating model for users in the European Economic Area (EEA).”

Google currently charges developers a 15% cut of in-app purchases and all other transactions up to their first $1 million USD of revenue for the year, and 30% on income exceeding that threshold. Developers who opt to use an alternative payment processor instead of the Play Store’s billing system will get a 3% concession on their “Google tax.”

“As part of our efforts to comply with these new rules, we are announcing a new program to support billing alternatives for EEA users. This will mean developers of non-gaming apps can offer their users in the EEA an alternative to Google Play’s billing system when they are paying for digital content and services,” Google said in a statement.

According to Google, developers will still be on the hook for maintaining certain standards of user protection and following other rules of service fees.

Starting today, Google will no longer reject any updates from developers of non-gaming apps that offer alternative billing for EEA users. The EEA comprises 27 EU countries, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

Google Play billing will continue to be the only option for developers in other regions. However, with the EU forcing Apple and Google to amend their store policies and setting precedent, it won’t be long before lawmakers in other parts of the world follow suit.

U.S. lawmakers are reportedly already considering new rules to curb Apple and Google’s app store monopolies on their respective platforms.

Google is also offering alternative billing systems to developers in South Korea, and Apple last month started doing so as well. The former has also struck deals with apps like Spotify to let them use third-party payment systems in all regions.