Create a subscription

Review our updated Subscriptions Policy in the Developer Policy Center to ensure your app is compliant with the latest changes.

Using Google Play Billing, you can offer in-app products that charge users for content or services on a recurring basis, known as subscriptions. Subscriptions can include items like a collection of apps, games, or other content for a recurring fee within your app on Google Play.

You can offer multiple subscriptions within the same app. Subscriptions must be priced within accepted prices ranges. Subscriptions can't be unpublished.

Important: Google Play Developer Program Policies and transaction fees apply to in-app products, including both managed products and subscriptions.

Availability

If you're in a supported location for merchant registration, you can use Google Play Billing.

If you’re in a supported location and want to start using Google Play Billing features in your apps, set up a payments profile and review the Google Play Billing API documentation.

After you create a subscription, it’s available for users running the latest version of the Google Play Store.

Subscription & free trial time periods

  • Weekly: Weekly subscriptions can't be charged using direct carrier billing.
  • 1 month
  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • Annual

Add a subscription to your app

Adding a subscription is similar to adding a managed product, except the price is set for a period of time.

Before creating a subscription, make sure to plan your product IDs carefully. Product IDs need to be unique for your app, and they can’t be changed or reused after they’ve been created.

  • Product IDs need to start with a lowercase letter or a number and must be composed of only lowercase letters (a-z), numbers (0-9), underscores (_), and periods (.)
  • Note: The product ID android.test is unavailable for use, along with all product IDs that start with android.test.

Before adding a subscription, review our Subscriptions Policy.

To add a subscription:

  1. Sign in to your Play Console.
  2. Click All applications All applications.
  3. Select an app.
  4. On the left menu, click Store presence > In-app products > Subscriptions.
  5. Click Create subscription.
  6. Enter your product details.
    • Title: A short name of the item (up to 55 characters, but we recommend limiting titles to 25 characters to display properly in all contexts), such as 'Sleeping potion.'
    • Description: A long description of the item (up to 80 characters), such as 'Instantly puts creatures to sleep'.
    • Benefits: Provide up to 4 benefits, which each describe a feature of the subscription (up to 40 characters each)
      • Benefits should highlight the features to give users a better idea of what your subscription offers, like “Full catalog of TV shows and movies.” 
      • Since not all users will be eligible for a promotional price or free trial, the benefit should not mention free trial or price, for example “Try 7 days free” is not allowed.
    • Price: Enter a price in your local currency.
  7. Next to “Status,” choose Active or Inactive.
    • To be available for purchase, a product needs to be active, and its app needs to be published.
    • If you’re using a test account, active items are available in unpublished apps. To learn more, go to our Android developers site.
  8. Click Save.

Subscription pricing options

Subscription prices

You can choose to make certain content or services in your app available to users at a recurring rate for a particular period of time. Users will be charged your chosen rate at your selected frequency until they choose to cancel. 

For example, a user who buys a one-year subscription on Jan 1 for $10 will have access to the subscription until December 31, and will be charged $10 on the following renewal date.

Requirements

  • You, as a developer, must be transparent about any subscription services or content you offer within your app. 
  • You must communicate your offer clearly in any in-app promotions or splash screens. 
  • You must be explicit about your offer terms, including the cost of your subscription, the frequency of your billing cycle, and whether a subscription is required to use the app. Users should not have to perform any additional action to review the information.
  • Subscription pricing must be within the accepted price range.
  • Your subscription title or SKU name must accurately reflect your offer. For example, don’t name your subscription “Free Trial.”
Introductory prices

With introductory pricing, you can specify an initial price that applies to a set number of days, weeks, months, or billing periods. For example, you can offer a subscription for $1 per month for the first three months. Or, you can offer an introductory price of $1 for 10 days, followed by a regular monthly price.

At the end of the introductory period, users are charged the full subscription price.

Requirements

  • You must clearly and accurately describe the terms of your offer, including the duration, pricing, and description of accessible content or services. 
  • Be clear about what happens when the introductory offer ends, including how much users will be charged and how they can cancel.
  • The minimum introductory period is 3 days, and the maximum introductory period is 12 months.
  • Introductory prices must be within the accepted price range and less than the subscription's full price.
  • If you're offering a free trial and introductory price, your users are charged the introductory price at the end of the trial.
  • A user can only receive an introductory price to a specific subscription product (SKU) one time.
  • If the introductory period is a different length of time than the subscription period, the introductory price must cost less per day than the original price. For example, if a subscription costs $15 per month (or $0.50 per day), a week-long introductory price must cost less than $3.50. For these calculations, a month is always considered to be 30 days. 

For more information and examples, see Free Trials & Introductory Offers in the Developer Policy Center.

Add an introductory price

  1. Sign in to your Play Console.
  2. Click All applications All applications.
  3. Select an app.
  4. On the left menu, click Store presence > In-app products > Subscriptions.
  5. Next to "Introductory price," enter your introductory price (in the default currency) and the number of applicable days, weeks, months, or recurring billing periods.
    • If you select billing periods, the introductory price recurs for the number of billing periods you enter. If you select days, weeks, or months, the user is only charged the introductory price once during the specified time period. 
    • We use the price you enter as the base for calculating market-specific prices. To manually update local prices, select Edit Price.
    • For more information on how to manage market-specific prices for subscriptions, go to in-app product configuration options.
  6. Save your changes.
Free trials
By setting up a free trial, you can let your users try out a subscription before buying it. Free trials run for a period of time that you set, and then they automatically convert to a full subscription using the subscription’s time period and price. You can set up a free trial for any type of subscription.
Note: As of January 10, 2018, users can only receive one free trial across all available subscriptions in your app by default. If you wish to provide one free trial per subscription product, you can change the setting in Play Console.

Requirements

  • You must let users know: 
    • what content or services they will be able to access with a free trial, 
    • how and when a free trial will convert to a paid subscription, 
    • how much the paid subscription will cost, 
    • and how to cancel if they do not want to convert to a paid subscription.
  • You can create one free trial per subscription product.
  • Each subscription SKU needs a trial period.
  • Free trials are always $0.
  • Trial periods must be 3 days or longer.
    • You can change a trial period at any time, but only new subscription purchases will use the updated trial period.
  • Users can only get a free trial if they haven’t previously purchased the subscription it applies to.

For more information and examples, see Free Trials & Introductory Offers in the Developer Policy Center.

Add a free trial

  1. Sign in to your Play Console.
  2. Click All applications All applications.
  3. Select an app.
  4. On the left menu, click Store presence > In-app products > Subscriptions.
  5. Click Subscription settings.
  6. Check the checkbox next to “Subscription-level free trial.”

How users start a free trial

To start a free trial, a user completes the standard process for purchasing a subscription on Google Play. They aren’t charged at first because the initial period is included with the free trial, and they’re notified by email that the subscription includes a free trial period. Google Play records a transaction of $0.00, and the subscription is marked as purchased for the trial period or until its canceled.

The day after the trial period ends, a user’s payment method is charged for the full subscription amount, which recurs using the subscription’s set time period. The payment status may display as pending for up to 24 hours, even if no grace period is set.

Note: If a user cancels a subscription at any time during the trial period, the subscription remains active until the end of the trial, and they won’t be charged.

Featured subscriptions

In addition to selling subscriptions from within your app, you can sell a featured SKU directly from the Play Store using featured subscriptions. 

Our research suggests that selling subscriptions directly from the Play Store can potentially lead to an increase in subscribers, but also to a decrease in installs. We recommend that you carefully consider whether this trade-off is suitable for your app before setting up a featured subscription. Featured subscriptions may be a better option for apps that keep a significant amount of their content behind a subscription paywall, for example.

Note: As of February 2020, this feature is enabled in the US only.

Requirements

  • Your app must support Billing Library 2.0 or newer. You can learn about Billing Library on the Android Developers site

  • You must implement the purchase ack API in your app. You can learn about implementing the purchase ack API on the Android Developers site

  • The subscription name entered should accurately convey the nature of the subscription as it will be displayed on your Play Store listing page. For example, a subscription should not be named “Free Trial”. A better title might be something like “Monthly Premium VIP Subscription.”

  • The subscription description should accurately describe the nature of the subscription. Don’t simply repeat the title in the description field, such as “Monthly Premium VIP Subscription”. A good description highlights the benefits of the subscription and gives users a better idea of what your subscription offers, like “Unlock access to our full catalog of TV shows and movies without ads. Use across all your devices.”

Set up a featured subscription

Before setting up your featured subscription, ensure that it has the correct title and description on your store listing page, and that it has been localized into other languages. Users will see this information on your store listing page.

  1. Sign in to your Play Console.
  2. Select an app.
  3. On the left menu, click Store presence > In-app products > Subscriptions.
  4. Under "Featured subscription settings" click Manage settings.
  5. Next to "Featured subscription," select the subscription you want to feature on your store listing page.
  6. Under “Surfaces” choose the surfaces you want to offer your featured subscription on. There are up to three options available for each surface:
    • Enabled for all: All eligible users can see and purchase your featured subscription.
    • Enabled for licensed testers only: Only licensed testers can see and purchase your featured subscription. You can use this option to test your subscription before releasing it to production.
    • Not enabled: The featured subscription is not available to any users.
  7. Save your changes.

How users buy featured subscriptions

After you enable a featured subscription, Play Store users located in countries where the feature is available will see the subscription title, description, and price on your store listing page. Users will have the option to select Install, which downloads the app without a subscription, or Free Trial & Install, which prompts them to purchase a subscription.

After selecting Free trial & Install, users are prompted to purchase the subscription. If the purchase is successful, the app is then automatically installed on the user’s device.

Note: Some users may see Subscribe & Install instead of Free Trial & Install, depending on their eligibility for a free trial.

Manage changes to subscriptions

Price changes

User experience

After you change the price of an existing subscription, here’s how it affects new users and existing subscribers:

  • New users can immediately see the subscription’s new price and subscribe to it on Google Play.
  • Existing subscribers receiving a price increase will be notified of the price change by email and through a notification on Google Play 7 days after the price change occurs. Subscribers will then have 30 days to agree to the price change, otherwise their subscription will be canceled on their next renewal date.
    • Important: Price increases may cause an increase in churn if subscribers do not accept the price change. We recommend contacting affected subscribers to inform them of the price increase within 7 days to give an explanation for the change and remind them of the value they are receiving.
    • Note: If you change the price multiple times before the user's next renewal date, the user only has to respond to the most recent price change
  • Existing subscribers receiving a price decrease will be notified and receive the lower price on their next renewal date.

Change a subscription’s price

  1. Sign in to your Play Console.
  2. Select an app.
  3. On the left menu, click Store presence > In-app products > Subscriptions
  4. Select a subscription.
  5. Under “Pricing,” change the subscription’s price.
  6. Click Save.

Tips for managing price changes

  • After you change a subscription’s price, it can’t be reverted.
  • You can change a subscription’s price multiple times, but it isn’t recommended. You may lose some subscribers each time you change a price, so carefully plan any price changes.
    • Note: If you change a subscription’s price twice in a short period of time, your subscribers will need to agree to the first price change, and then agree the second price change for your intended price to take effect.
  • If you want to offer one price to existing subscribers and a different price to new users, you can create a new subscription with the price you want to offer to new users. This way, your existing subscribers can continue renewing their subscriptions without having to agree to a price change.
Upgrades or downgrades

With in-app subscriptions, you can add the ability for users to upgrade or downgrade their existing subscription to another plan your app offers. For example, users can change from a monthly to an annual subscription or from a basic to a premium subscription.

Users won't receive a refund for their old plan. To account for unused time remaining on an existing subscription, the first charge of their new subscription plan will be delayed.

Grace periods

Grace periods allow your subscribers to update their payment method if a recurring payment is declined. This can be useful if your subscribers have an expired credit card, subscribed using a prepaid card, or canceled a card without updating their payment information.

Declined payments & grace periods

At the start of a grace period, your subscribers receive an email notifying them of a declined payment. They'll have time to update their payment method without interrupting their subscription. Once your subscribers update their payment method to a valid form of payment, their next subscription billing date stays the same.

For new subscription products, the following grace periods are set by default:

  • Weekly subscriptions: 3 days
  • Monthly subscriptions: 7 days
  • Other subscription periods: 14 days

Change a grace period

You can change the grace period (3, 7, 14, or 30 days) for individual subscriptions or turn off grace periods.

  1. Sign in to your Play Console.
  2. Select your app.
  3. On the left menu, click Store presenceIn-app products.
  4. Select the Subscriptions tab.
  5. Select a subscription.
  6. Change your grace period settings.

End of grace period

If your subscribers' payment method is still declined by the end of the grace period, their subscription is canceled and they lose access to their subscription content.

Account holds for declined payments

If a subscriber's recurring payment is declined, you can place the user's subscription on hold and restrict access to your content for 30 days while we try payment again. If activated, the account hold feature applies to all subscriptions within your app.

  1. Sign in to your Play Console.
  2. Select your app.
  3. On the left menu, click Store presence > In-app products > Subscriptions.
  4. Expand the "Subscription settings" section.
  5. Next to "Activate account hold," check the checkbox. 

Important: Starting on November 1, 2020, account hold will become mandatory.

If you want to learn more about implementing account holds, go to the Android Developers site for more information. 

Pauses

To reduce voluntary churn and provide users an alternative to cancelling their subscription, you can enable users to pause their subscription. If activated, the pause feature applies to all subscriptions except annual SKUs within your app. Account hold must be enabled in order to enable pause. To enable users to pause:

  1. Sign in to your Play Console.
  2. Select your app.
  3. On the left menu, click Store presence > In-app products > Subscriptions. 
  4. Expand the "Subscription settings" section.
  5. Next to "Activate pause," check the checkbox.

Important: Starting on November 1, 2020, pause will be activated by default

Cancellations

User experience

When a user cancels a subscription, they don't receive a refund. Instead, they have access to their purchased subscription until the end of the prepaid subscription period.

Restore a subscription in the app

To help users who cancel a subscription and want to subscribe again, you can add the ability for users to resubscribe in your app without having to wait until the end of their existing subscription period. When a user resubscribes before the end of their existing subscription period, they see a $0.00 charge.

Restore a subscription from the Play Store app

If you enable users to restore a subscription, users can restore access to a canceled subscription that hasn't expired yet from the Play Store app. When a user restores access, they'll confirm the next payment date and you will receive a notification. 

Tip: This feature works best if you've set up real-time developer notifications.

To enable users to restore a subscription:

  1. Sign in to your Play Console.
  2. Select your app.
  3. On the left menu, click Store presence > In-app products > Subscriptions.
  4. Expand the "Subscription settings" section.
  5. Next to "Allow users to restore subscriptions," check the box.

Developer responsibilities

  • You must ensure that your app clearly discloses how a user can manage or cancel their subscription.
  • You (as the content or access provider) may implement a more flexible refund policy with your users directly. It is your responsibility to notify your users of any changes to your refund policies and ensure that the policies comply with applicable law.
  • In some cases, the user may contact you directly to request cancellation of a subscription. In this and similar cases, you can use the server-side API to directly cancel the user's subscription from your servers.
  • You must support a subscription as long as it has at least one active user. If a developer doesn't support subscriptions with active users, the developer account will be suspended, and the user's subscription will be refunded using the developer's account.

For more information and examples, please see Management & Cancellation in the Developer Policy Center.

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