The debate around app stores’ fees is one of the never-ending hottest topics in the App industry. We can expect it to keep the spotlight for a long time, with little certainty of how it will evolve, as it’s happening in the aftermath of the iconic Epic vs Apple lawsuit.
While the “30% standard” platforms’ fee is often criticized and considered expensive by the vast majority of the developers, you should know the eligibility conditions to enroll in platforms’ special programs to save 50% on the commission. Indeed, both Apple and Google allow small publishers to benefit from a reduced 15% fee instead of the standard 30% if they meet specific criteria.
Apple and Google have indeed a similar fees structure, but with critical differences at the date of this article. On the AppStore, the standard commission is 30% except for auto-renewing subscriptions after the first year (15%) and specific categories/countries where special fees apply. On the PlayStore, standard in-app purchases’ commission is also 30% except for all autorenewing subscriptions (15%) and some special categories (10%)–e.g., the Play Media Experience Program.
While we can’t know how standard fees will evolve, what you can do right now is to check if you are eligible to benefit from a 50% discounted commission.
Apple Store Small Business Program
Apple provides an easy-to-enroll Small Business Program that enables small publishers–i.e., making less than $1M in proceeds per calendar year–to benefit from a reduced 15% AppStore commission on in-app purchases (including auto-renewable subscriptions) and paid apps. More specifically, publishers have to meet the following condition to qualify:
- Have earned no more than $1M in total proceeds within the previous calendar year, and no more than $1M during the current year. If you are new to the AppStore, this is good news because this includes new publishers!
Apple clarifies that:
- If a participating developer surpasses the $1M threshold in the current calendar year, the standard commission rate will apply to future sales.
- If a developer’s proceeds fall below the $1M threshold in a future calendar year, they can re-qualify for the 15% commission the year after.
Enrolling in the program is very simple and has to be done by an Account Holder in the Apple Developer Program:
- Step 1: Go to App Store Connect. You must review and accept the latest Paid Apps agreement (Schedule 2 to the Apple Developer Program License Agreement)
- Step 2: List all of your Associated Developer Accounts–if applicable.
Google 15% service fee tier
Google charges a reduced 15% on the first $1M of earnings each year to the publishers enrolled in the program. According to Google, more than 99% of publishers are eligible to benefit from the reduced service fee on the Play Store. However, please note that Google decided to reduce fees to 15% for all automatically renewable subscriptions.
To enroll in the special service fee, the owner of the payment profile must:
- Open the Play Console and go to the Associated developer accounts page
- Follow these instructions to create and set up an Account Group
- On the Associated developer accounts page, find the banner on the page with the heading, “When you’ve finished setting up your account group, enroll for the 15% service fee.” Click Review and enroll.
- Read and accept the Terms of Service
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Platform policies are constantly evolving. By the time you read this article, they might have changed. So please always refer to the official AppStore and PlayStore policies to have the most updated information, or contact us at glassfy.io and we will be happy to share the most recent news on the subject.