Spotify and Bumble Can Now Bill U.S. Users Directly Through Google


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Two dating apps—Spotify and Bumble—will soon be able to directly bill U.S. users through Google, according to Recode . The move means that the previously required redirects to iTunes and Google Play will no longer be necessary, while in-app purchases are billed at a higher rate than other billing methods. Spotify—a music and podcast streaming service—is already live with the option, with Bumble expected to roll it out soon as well.

Google said on Thursday that the Google Play app store will enable Spotify and Bumble to charge subscription fees directly from within their Android applications.

Between 15% and 30% of digital sales made inside of applications are often taken by Google Play and Apple’s App Store for iPhones through their billing systems.

Services like Spotify can lower their costs by enabling firms to charge customers’ credit cards straight within the app. Apps that charge users directly will still be required to provide Google a portion of their app revenues, Google stated in a support page. Additionally, Google Play billing will continue to be used for subscription payments to Spotify.

According to a support document, “When a customer chooses to utilise an alternate billing method, the service price the developer pays will be lowered by 4%.”

With its decision on Thursday, Google Play markedly differed from Apple’s App Store in terms of its standards and made a substantial concession to enable third-party charging. Even though Spotify is still at odds with Apple over its rules, this is a sign that the two companies are working together to resolve issues involving the app store.

Google’s adjustment is not, however, as radical as some app developers had demanded. Without having to give a mobile app store a percentage, developers want the option to charge clients directly. The “sideloading” feature of Google’s Android operating system enables users to install programmes from sources other than Google Play.

The app store taxes and regulations have drawn a strong response from Spotify, who claims they are anti-competitive. Its anger has primarily been directed at Apple.

Apple has fought against direct billing with regulators and the courts and continues to forbid it in the majority of the nations where it operates. Due to laws there, Apple operates a comparable scheme in South Korea that permits direct billing. For user security and privacy, according to Apple, the App Store’s regulations are crucial.

In a blog post, Spotify praised Google’s choice and said that this week, it began charging consumers directly for premium memberships in numerous different nations. The business declared, “Google has made a big move to help level the playing field, but this is just the beginning.

User Choice Billing is the name of the new policy that Google unveiled in March. The test, which the business refers to as a “pilot,” was previously conducted in Australia, India, and Europe before being extended on Thursday to the United States, Brazil, and South Africa.

Google stated that non-gaming applications that adhere to its user interface requirements for how to integrate the charging are eligible for the test programme.

According to the New York Times, Spotify and Apple had a run-in in October over one of Apple’s guidelines on whether Spotify may include a button inside its apps to email users with a purchase link that obviates Apple’s App Store cut.

On Thursday, Spotify’s shares increased by little under 10%. Over 10% of the Bumble stock was up. On a good day for the markets following the lower-than-expected inflation news, Google also increased by more than 7%.


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