Google Play is suspending free trials in India following new RBI regulations
At the end of March, the Reserve Bank of India, India’s central bank and financial regulatory authority, announced new rules on recurring transactions. In response, Google is informing developers of temporary changes for Google Play users in India.
The RBI’s new eMandate notification “calls for an additional layer of authentication for recurring transactions via credit cards, debit cards, UPI, and other prepaid payment instruments (PPIs),” explains Business Today. Because of these rules, Google has announced that it will pause new signups of auto-renewing subscriptions for users in India. “Until the ecosystem challenges are addressed,” Google explains in an email sent to developers, the company will also temporarily suspend free trials and introductory pricing for users in India. The reason these features will be suspended until further notice is because they’re tied to how Google Play handles auto-renewing subscriptions: You currently can’t sign up for a free trial or take advantage of introductory pricing without also signing up for an auto-renewing subscription.
Subscriptions will continue to be available as single access passes that provide users a single billing period of access (eg. 1-month access). At the end of the billing duration, Google says users will need to sign up again in order to continue their subscription.
These changes go into effect in early May but will not impact existing auto-renewing subscriptions or other markets. Google is recommending developers remove free trials and introductory pricing from their apps as well as from any user communications. Furthermore, Google recommends developers replace auto-renewing subscription SKUs in India with one-time product SKUs and add in-app messaging that informs users that subscriptions will not automatically renew.