Now this website for my SaaS has been packaged in a small
WebView wrapper and is about to be released as an Android app. But on the Stripe website, I found this:
Google’s developer terms require that purchases related to the app, such as premium features or credits, are made via their native In-app Billing API.
Diving deeper into Google Play’s terms, you can find this (emphasis mine):
- Developers offering products within a game downloaded on Google Play or providing access to game content must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment.
- Developers offering products within another category of app downloaded on Google Play must use Google Play In-app Billing as the method of payment, except for the following cases:
- Payment is solely for physical products
- Payment is for digital content that may be consumed outside of the app itself (e.g. songs that can be played on other music players)
So that seems more permissive than Stripe’s interpretation, and since my SaaS is not a game and can be used via a generic web browser as well, my understanding would be that using an external payments processor instead of Google Play’s billing is fine.
On the one hand, this would mean that most digital services could avoid Google Play’s billing and use something else, which seems (too) fair on Google’s part. On the other hand, this excludes games, which Google can generate a lot of revenue from, so it may be reasonable again.
This is not a legal question, and the answer could not be found in legal literature or by asking a lawyer, anyway. Instead, it’s entirely up to Google’s discretion whether using an external payments processor is allowed or not, based on one’s interpretation of the terms presented above.
So instead of legal advice, I’m looking for practical guidelines and examples of real-world usage that supports any interpretation of the terms above. One example that I’ve found is Dropbox:
Having downloaded their app on Android, Dropbox allows me to select between two payment methods: Google Play, or debit card on Dropbox’s own site. This seems to support the more permissive interpretation of Google Play’s terms.
Are there any other real-world examples?