Google has announced User Choice Billing or UCB, a way to let developers bill Android subscribers in-app. This implementation could result in cheaper app subscriptions, as developer service fees to Google will be lowered 4% for user transactions made within an app (opens in new tab).
The first implementation of this is already being used by Spotify and Bumble, and as more and more developers utilize the function, you may see increased savings across subscriptions.
Instead of just sending users to the Google Play Store to make purchases, Spotify will now allow users to pay how they’d like. Users can still pay with the Google Store, but will also be able to pay with a debit or credit card or through PayPal. Currently, the first version of this is being released in select markets around the world, with plans to be sent out to more in the coming weeks.
According to a statement by Google (opens in new tab), “The best way to offer alternative billing for in-app purchases is to put the choice in the hands of users.” Spotify’s (opens in new tab) goal with using UCB is to create a fair platform that enables better consumer experiences and also “empowers developers to imagine, innovate, and thrive.”
Spotify’s decision to partner with Google on this is another way in which they’re pushing back against app-store fees and rules, specifically those set by Apple. Spotify has claimed that Apple’s competitive behavior has hurt both creators and consumers (opens in new tab).
While Spotify didn’t mention if their prices would be cheaper if purchased in-app, UCB has the potential to save users money, because Google will take less of a cut in developer fees through this method of subscription. If this initial implementation proves successful, soon more companies may be using the feature.