Bazaar In-App Billing
Subscriptions let you sell content, services, or features in your app with automated, recurring billing. You can easily adapt an existing In-app Billing implementation to sell subscriptions.
This document is focused on highlighting implementation details that are specific to subscriptions, along with some strategies for the associated billing and business models.
Overview of Subscriptions
A subscription is a product type offered in In-app Billing that lets you sell content, services, or features to users from inside your app with recurring monthly or annual billing. You can sell subscriptions to almost any type of digital content, from any type of app or game.
As with other in-app products, you configure and publish subscriptions using the Developer Console and then sell them from inside apps installed on Android devices. In the Developer console, you create subscription products and add them to a product list, then set a price and optional trial period for each, choose a billing interval (monthly or annual), and then publish. For more information about using the Developer Console, see Configuring Subscription Items.
When users purchase subscriptions in your apps, Bazaar handles all checkout details so your apps never have to directly process any financial transactions.
After users have purchase subscriptions, they can view the subscriptions and cancel them from the My Apps screen in the Play Store app or from the app's product details page in the Play Store app. For more information about handling user cancellations, see Subscription Cancellation.
In general the same basic policies and terms apply to subscriptions as to standard in-app products, however there are some differences.
To learn about the minimum system requirements for subscriptions, see the Version Notes.
Configuring Subscription Items
To add an item to a product list using the In-app Products UI, follow these steps:
1. Log in to your account.
2. In the panel, go to the menu Products/Services and click New Product.
3. provide details about the item you are selling. In the section, Kind of Product click Annual/Monthly Subscription and then click Submit.
You must enter the following information for each item in a product list:
Product IDs are unique across an application's namespace. A product ID must start with a lowercase letter or a number, and must be composed using only lowercase letters (a-z), numbers (0-9), underlines (_), and dots (.).
In addition, you cannot modify an item's product ID after it is created, and you cannot reuse a product ID.
The title is a short descriptor for the item. Titles must be unique across an application's namespace. Every item must have a title. For optimum appearance, titles should be no longer than 25 characters.
The description is a long descriptor for the item. Every item must have a description. The description is visible to users during checkout.
You must provide a default price in IR Rials currency.
An item's publishing state can be Active or Disable. To be visible to a user during checkout, an item's publishing state must be set to Active and the item's application must be published on Bazaar.
Kind of Product
Choose Monthly or Annual period for your subscription product.
Choose for which app is this product submitted.
Here, you can set up a free trial period that lets users try your subscription content before buying it.
Each subscription must have a non-zero price. You can price multiple subscriptions for the same content differently — for example you could offer a discount on an annual subscription relative to the monthly equivalent.
Important: To change the price of a subscription, you can publish a new subscription product ID at a new price, then offer it in your app instead of the original product. Users who have already purchased will continue to be charged at the original price, but new users will be charged at the new price.
In the Developer Console, you can configure subscription products with automated recurring billing at either of two intervals:
• Monthly — Bazaar bills the customer’s account at the time of purchase and monthly subsequent to the purchase date.
• Annually — Bazaar bills the customer's at the time of purchase and again on the same date in subsequent years.
Billing continues indefinitely at the interval and price specified for the subscription. At each subscription renewal, Bazaar charges the user account automatically, then notifies the user of the charges afterward by email. Billing cycles will always match subscription cycles, based on the purchase date.
Over the life of a subscription, the form of payment billed remains the same — Bazaar always bills the same form of payment (such as credit card or by Direct Carrier Billing) that was originally used to purchase the subscription.
When the subscription payment is approved, Bazaar provides a purchase token back to the purchasing app through the In-app Billing API. Your apps can store the token locally or pass it to your backend servers, which can then use it to validate or cancel the subscription.
If a recurring payment fails (for example, because the customer’s credit is insufficient), the subscription does not renew. In this case the failed or expired subscription is no longer returned when you call getPurchases.
In the Developer Console, you can set up a free trial period that lets users try your subscription content before buying it. The trial period runs for the period of time that you set and then automatically converts to a full subscription managed according to the subscription's billing interval and price.
To take advantage of a free trial, a user must "purchase" the full subscription through the standard In-app Billing flow, providing a valid form of payment to use for billing and completing the normal purchase transaction. However, the user is not charged any money, since the initial period corresponds to the free trial. Instead, Bazaar records a transaction of $0.00 and the subscription is marked as purchased for the duration of the trial period or until cancellation. When the transaction is complete, Bazaar notifies users by email that they have purchased a subscription that includes a free trial period and that the initial charge was 0 RLS.
When the trial period ends, Bazaar automatically initiates billing against the credit card that the user provided during the initial purchase, at the amount set for the full subscription, and continuing at the subscription interval. If necessary, the user can cancel the subscription at any time during the trial period. In this case, Bazaar marks the subscription as expired immediately, rather than waiting until the end of the trial period. The user has not paid for the trial period and so is not entitled to continued access after cancellation.
You can set up a trial period for a subscription in the Developer Console, without needing to modify or update your APK. Just locate and edit the subscription in your product list, set a valid number of days for the trial (must be 7 days or longer), and publish. You can change the period any time, although note that Bazaar does not apply the change to users who have already "purchased" a trial period for the subscription. Only new subscription purchases will use the updated trial period. You can create one free trial period per subscription product.
When you have finished configuring your subscription product details in the Developer Console, you can publish the subscription in the app product list.
In the product list, you can add subscriptions, in-app products, or both. You can add multiple subscriptions that give access to different content or services, or you can add multiple subscriptions that give access to the same content but for different intervals or different prices, such as for a promotion. For example, a news outlet might decide to offer both monthly and annual subscriptions to the same content, with annual having a discount.
Users can view the status of all of their subscriptions and cancel them if necessary from the My Apps screen in the Play Store app. Currently, the In-app Billing API does not provide support for programatically canceling subscriptions from inside the purchasing app.
When the user cancels a subscription, Bazaar does not offer a refund for the current billing cycle. Instead, it allows the user to have access to the cancelled subscription until the end of the current billing cycle, at which time it terminates the subscription. For example, if a user purchases a monthly subscription and cancels it on the 15th day of the cycle, Bazaar will consider the subscription valid until the end of the 30th day (or other day, depending on the month).
In all cases, you must continue to offer the content that your subscribers have purchased through their subscriptions, for as long any users are able to access it. That is, you must not remove any subscriber’s content while any user still has an active subscription to it, even if that subscription will terminate at the end of the current billing cycle. Removing content that a subscriber is entitled to access will result in penalties.
With subscriptions, Bazaar does not provide a refund window, so users will need to contact you directly to request a refund.
If you receive requests for refunds, you can use the server-side API to cancel the subscription or verify that it is already cancelled. However, keep in mind that Bazaar considers cancelled subscriptions valid until the end of their current billing cycles, so even if you grant a refund and cancel the subscription, the user will still have access to the content.
Payment Processing and Policies
In general, the terms of Bazaar allow you to sell in-app subscriptions only through the standard payment processor of Bazaar.
Apps published on Bazaar that are selling subscriptions must use In-app Billing to handle the transaction and may not provide links to a purchase flow outside of the app and Bazaar (such as to a web site).