Google Play's billing system is required for developers offering in-app purchases of digital goods and services distributed on Google Play.
It enables you to easily transact with millions of users around the world and gives users safe ways to pay and the ability to manage their payments from a central location. Play’s billing system plays a critical role in helping us maintain user trust and keep Google Play safe.
About Google Play's billing system
Google Play's billing system is a service that enables you to sell digital products and content in your Android app. You can use Google Play's billing system to sell a one-time product or subscriptions on a recurring basis. Visit the Android Developers site to learn how to integrate Google Play's billing system into your app.
Unless otherwise permitted by the Payments policy, purchases that require use of Google Play's billing system include:
- Digital items (such as virtual currencies, extra lives, additional playtime, add-on items, characters, or avatars);
- Subscription services (such as fitness, game, dating, education, music, video, or other content subscription services);
- App functionality or content (such as an ad-free version of an app or new features not available in the free version); and
- Cloud software and services (such as data storage services, business productivity software, or financial management software).
Purchases that are not supported by Google Play's billing system include:
- Purchases or rentals of physical goods (such as groceries, clothing, houseware, or electronics);
- Purchases of physical services (such as transportation services, airfare, gym memberships, or food delivery); and
- Payment of a credit card or utility bill.
Google Play's billing system must not be used for peer-to-peer payments, content that facilitates online gambling, or any product category deemed unacceptable under Google’s Payments Center Content Policies.
Payments policy clarification
In 2020, we clarified the language in our Payments policy to be more explicit that all developers selling digital goods and services in their apps are required to use Google Play’s billing system. Apps using an alternative in-app billing system will need to remove it in order to comply with the Payments policy.
We always strive to work with our developer community to help keep their apps on Play while they make any needed changes. While most developers have already complied with this long-standing policy, we gave a one year grace period for any that needed to make changes to their apps. Based on developer feedback, we gave eligible developers the option to request an additional six months, giving them more than 18 months to bring their apps into compliance. We continue to work with developer partners to meet the evolving needs of our ecosystem.
Starting June 1, 2022, any app that is still not compliant will be removed from Google Play.
Developers in India have until October 31, 2022 to comply due to unique circumstances with the payments landscape in the country. Please visit our FAQ for more details.
Developers with users in South Korea now have the option to integrate an alternative in-app billing system. Please visit our FAQ for more details.
Yes, you can distribute your app however you like. As an open ecosystem, most Android devices come preinstalled with more than one store – and users can install others. Android gives developers the freedom and flexibility to distribute their apps on other Android app stores, directly from a website, or through device preloads, all without using Google Play's billing system.
We recognize that the global pandemic has resulted in many businesses having to navigate the challenges of moving their physical business to digital and engaging customers in a new way, for example, moving in-person experiences and classes online. For that reason, these businesses will not be required to use Google Play's billing system for the next nine months, and we will continue to assess the situation over the next year.
Yes. Google Play’s developer policies — including the requirement that apps use Google Play’s billing system for in-app purchases of digital goods — apply to all apps on Google Play, including Google’s own apps.
Yes. Outside of your app you are free to communicate with your users about alternative purchase options. You can use email marketing and other channels outside of the app to provide subscription offers and even special pricing.
Within an app, developers may not lead users to a payment method other than Google Play’s billing system unless permitted by the Payments policy. This includes directly linking to a webpage that could lead to an alternate payment method or using language that encourages a user to purchase the digital item outside of the app.
For services and products that are consumption only (apps that do not enable users to purchase access to digital goods or services from within the app), developers may choose to provide additional information about purchasing options without direct links, including using language like:
- "You can purchase this book directly on our website"
- "Go to our website to upgrade your subscription to Premium"
- "This movie isn’t available to rent in the app. However, any movie you rent through ourwebsite.com will be immediately available to view in the app"
- "Need extra lives? Head to our website to purchase more"
Yes, you can email them or otherwise communicate outside your app about your offerings, even if they are different on Google Play.
Yes. We do not require parity across platforms. You can create different versions of your app to support different platforms, features, and pricing models.
Yes. Google Play allows any app to be consumption-only, even if it is part of a paid service. For example, a user could login when the app opens and access content paid for somewhere else.
No. All app categories are subject to Google Play's Payments policy.
Yes. You can continue to issue refunds to your customers and offer customer support directly.
Yes. Cloud game streaming apps that comply with Google Play’s policies are welcome on Google Play.
No. Purchases for goods or services like insurance, stock trades, investment consulting, or tax preparation and filing should not use Google Play’s billing system.
Transactions involving regulated clinical services should not use Google Play’s billing system. Regulated clinical services include services provided by or on behalf of a licensed healthcare provider that are intended to diagnose or manage (prevent, treat, mitigate or cure) medical conditions. These services may include consulting with a doctor, receiving a medical prescription, or treatment planning by a licensed healthcare professional.
In addition, digital COVID passport certification apps are not required to use Google Play’s billing system if the service is provided by, and any associated fees are directly assessed by, a government agency.
Purchases of digital goods or services that can only be consumed outside of a Play-distributed app and cannot be accessed in a Play-distributed app do not require Google Play’s billing system. Examples include ringtones usable on the device but not in the app; web-only content never consumed in the app; and apps that manage cloud service platforms, but don’t provide access to that cloud storage in-app.
No. Google Play’s billing system is not required for the sale of in-app gift cards, regardless of whether the gift card is an eGift or physically mailed to the user.
Yes. Earned or awarded points can be issued in-app without using Google Play’s billing system. Users can also exchange those earned or rewarded points in-app for digital goods and services without Google Play’s billing system. However, keep in mind that if these points (or other types of virtual currency) are sold in-app, Google Play’s billing system must be used.
If you’re a telecommunication, broadband, multichannel satellite, cable or managed IPTV (referred to as a “Physical Service”) service provider, you may be eligible to combine certain digital goods or services, which are also available through your non-mobile sales channels, with your customer’s existing physical service bill. The customer’s physical service bill must be used as the form of payment and those digital goods or services can only be sold in your apps where users can manage their physical service or where in-app purchases are only available to your physical service subscribers. Examples include:
- Offering standard digital or physical service subscription bundles that are broadly available in non-mobile sales channels and billed to the users physical service bill.
- Offering transactional video on demand, music, digital comics, or digital books behind a paying digital service subscription that is billed to the users physical service bill.
- Offering video on demand to users subscribed to a physical multichannel satellite, cable, or managed IPTV service.
As a result of recent legislation, we will offer all developers the ability to offer an alternative in-app billing system alongside Google Play's billing system for South Korean users making in-app purchases within Play-distributed apps on mobile phones and tablets.
Developers will still be subject to a service fee for transactions using an alternative in-app billing system, but the service fee will be reduced by 4%. For example, when the service fee is 15% for transactions through Google Play's billing system, it will be 11% for transactions made through an alternative billing system. Read our blog for additional details.
If you are a developer with users in South Korea, you can learn more about implementing an additional in-app billing system in this Help Center article.
Last year, due to unique circumstances with the payments landscape in India, we extended the deadline for developers based in India to comply with Google Play's Payment Policy in India. This deadline has been further extended to October 31st, 2022 to provide developers in India the required product support for recurring payments through convenient user payment systems, including UPI and wallets, and to also provide them more time in light of the changes to India’s recurring digital payments guidelines. We recognize the unique needs of the developer ecosystem in India and remain committed to partnering with them on their growth journey.
We always strive to work with our developer community to help keep their apps on Play while they make any needed changes. In 2020, we clarified the language of our Payments policy to make it more clear that all apps must use Play’s billing system for the purchase of in-app digital goods and services. While most developers already complied with this long-standing policy, we gave a one year grace period for any that needed to make changes to their apps. Based on developer feedback, in 2021 we gave developers the option to request an additional 6 months, giving them more than 18 months to bring their apps into compliance.
Starting on June 1, 2022, any apps that are still not compliant will be removed from Google Play.
Developers based in India have until October 31, 2022 to comply due to unique circumstances with the payments landscape in the country. Please visit our FAQ for more details.
Developers with users in South Korea have the option to integrate an alternative in-app billing system due to recent legislation. Please visit our FAQ for more details.
In cases where 100% of the tip or contribution from a user goes to the creator and the payment does not grant access to any digital content or services (including stickers, badges, special emojis etc.), then we regard this as a peer-to-peer payment and use of Google Play’s billing system is not required. If any of these things is not true, then Google Play’s billing system must be used in accordance with the policy requirements.
As long as Google Play’s billing system isn’t available in a particular country, the Payments policy’s requirement to use Google Play’s billing system does not apply in that country.
We’re always looking to expand support of Google Play’s billing system at which time the Payments policy’s requirement to use Google Play’s billing system will apply. We’ll let you know when those changes occur.
If your entire app or parts of your app are restricted based on login credentials, sign in details, memberships, location, or other forms of authentication, you must provide all required details to enable access to your app, as explained in the Play Console Requirements policy. If we're unable to review your app because of restricted access, you may be blocked from releasing updates, or your app may be removed from Google Play.
You can provide this information to us by following the instructions described in this Play Console Help Center article under the “App Access” section and then resubmitting your app for review.