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Google to allow users to pay for Android apps using cash

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Today, the Android platform sees more app downloads than iOS, but Apple’s App Store continually dominates in terms of revenue. Now, Google is aiming to narrow the revenue gap by introducing a new way for users in emerging markets to pay for apps: with cash.

The company today announced it’s launching “pending transactions,” which offers users different ways to pay that don’t require a credit card or any other traditional form of online payment.

Lack of access to credit is one of many reasons why users in emerging markets gravitate towards free-to-play and ad-supported games and applications, instead of paid downloads and in-app purchases.

To reach those users who rely more on cash, Google is now rolling out another payment option.

“We know that emerging markets are a key area of growth for you all, which is why we’re excited to announce ‘pending transactions,’” said Aurash Mahbod, the Director of Engineering responsible for the Play Store and Games on Google Play, speaking at the Google I/O Developer conference today.

“This is a new class of delayed form of payment – like cash, bank transfer and direct debit,” he explained.

The option gives an Android user the ability to choose an alternative payment method at checkout when paying for an application or in-app purchase.

Instead of charging an attached credit card, for instance, the user can instead opt to receive a payment code which they can use to pay for their purchase using cash at a nearby store.

Once at the store, the user shows the payment code to the cashier and pays. Within 10 minutes after completing the transaction, the user will receive their purchase and an email with their proof of payment. (The fine print notes this can take up to 48 hours, at times, however).

While this makes paying for apps and updates easier for cash-only Android users, if they later want a refund, they won’t get cash back — only Play Store credit.

This feature is currently available in Early Access, and partners who have used the option are seeing an average of 34% growth in paid subscribers, Google said.

More information about the new options will be posted to the Android Developers site

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