Back in March, Google announced that it would allow Android apps to use their own payment system as long as Play Store billing was offered alongside it. Google Play is now letting non-gaming developers around the world sign up for the User Choice Billing pilot, while naming which markets it will be tested in.

The pilot markets for User Choice Billing are European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Australia, India, Indonesia, and Japan.

Currently the EEA includes: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

Developers of non-gaming mobile or tablet applications that have a registered business can sign up to get the ability to offer alternative billing methods with the app. Google lists requirements such as:

  • Comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) (if handling credit and debit card data).
  • Provide customer support for users of the alternative billing system (including any products sold using the alternative billing system), and the alternative billing system must provide a process to dispute unauthorized transactions.
  • Notify us in advance of intended changes to your app enrollment preferences, such as disabling or enabling user choice billing in a particular app or country.

Developers “must pay Google the applicable service fees,” which gets reduced by 4% when an alternate system is used, similar to South Korea. The company continues to make the case that these fees are needed to support “continued investments across Android and Google Play.” Meanwhile, it touts end-user Google Play billing advantages like “parental controls, family payment methods, subscription management, Google Play gift cards, and Play Points.” 

Spotify was named as the first partner in March, and Google plans to make User Choice Billing available in key markets this year. More details, like the launch, will be released over the coming months.

Android has always been a uniquely open operating system, and we continue to evolve our platform and increase the choices available to developers and users, while maintaining our ability to invest in the ecosystem. With this next phase of Google Play’s user choice billing pilot, all non-gaming developers can offer an additional billing choice alongside Play’s billing system for their users in Australia, Japan, India, Indonesia, and the European Economic Area. We will be sharing more in the coming months as we continue to build and iterate with our pilot partners.

— Google spokesperson

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com