Google broadens app billing options in Japan and Europe, among other places

NEW YORK-As part of a reduced-fee pilot program in Japan, some other Asian countries, and Europe, Google LLC has begun enabling smartphone app developers to utilize payment mechanisms other than its own, potentially leading to lower software charges for Android consumers.

According to a message from the California-based IT giant, Google began accepting applications last Thursday from app creators, barring games, who want to use credit cards or other settlement methods outside Google’s system.

The program allows app users to pick between Google’s billing system and other approved payment methods, with the developer’s cost to the Google Play sales platform reduced by 4% when consumers choose alternative billing, according to the company.

The service will be offered in India, Indonesia, and Australia, in addition to Japan and most European countries.

Although Google now excludes gaming app developers from the effort, the company hinted that the limitation might be lifted in the future, adding, “We expect the pilot details to continue to evolve as we learn more and receive additional input.”

Previously, Google obliged most app developers to use its transaction system in exchange for a charge of up to 30% of sales.

In July, the European Parliament approved the Digital Markets Act, which forbids major IT corporations from giving themselves special treatment, and Google committed to provide app developers new payment alternatives.

Google has already enabled such billing alternatives in South Korea, which prevented IT corporations from requiring app developers to use their settlement systems last year.

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