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Android users may see billing changes for paid apps

Apple iTunes and Google Play store gift cards.

Apple iTunes and Google Play store gift cards.

Published Mar 24, 2022

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Johannesburg - Android users may soon see a choice of billing methods for paid apps they purchase from the Google Play store.

The Google-owned mobile operating system may soon allow users to select how they are billed for paid apps by either choosing to be billed by the Play Store or directly by the app service they used.

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The move comes at a time when many users have become warier in protecting their data privacy, especially online.

Meanwhile, Google is confident that current billing methods are secure and that strategies that may be introduced in the future will remain safe for users.

Sameer Samat, vice-president of product management at Android, said that users expect a safe billing experience, including in-app payment systems that protect users’ data and financial information.

“We built Google Play’s billing system to the highest standards for privacy and safety so users can be confident their sensitive payment data won’t be at risk when they make in-app purchases,” he said.

Samat said that the company believed that users should continue to have the choice to use Play’s billing system when they install an app from Google Play.

“We also think alternative billing systems must meet similarly high safety standards in protecting users’ data and sensitive financial information,” he added.

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Recently, a user-choice billing system was introduced by Android to users in South Korea, while Samat added that the company would introduce the billing method in other select countries.

The introduction of user-choice billing in some markets strongly indicates that these payment methods could soon be introduced to South Africans, using the Android operating system and the Google Play Store.

“This pilot will allow a small number of participating developers to offer an additional billing option next to Google Play’s billing system and is designed to help us explore ways to offer this choice to users,” Samat said.

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User-choice billing for Android users may soon become more widely available. The company has already partnered with music-streaming service Spotify to explore various implementations of user-choice billing.

Spotify will be introducing Google Play’s billing system alongside its own billing system, with the move expected to better understand how user-choice billing will operate in different countries and for other developers.

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