Apple has announced its new policies to comply with the new Dutch legal order which required the company to change its in-app payment mechanism. The regulatory ruling asks the company to allow alternative payment systems in the App Store for dating apps.
The new policies specifically published for dating apps in the Netherlands say that developers will have to pay a 27% commission rate, down from the standard 30%, when they use third-party payment systems. When processing fees for third-party payment systems are considered, they average around 3%, which means that developers and companies will still end up paying 30%, or even more, in some scenarios.
Apple’s controversial guidelines for third-party payments in dating apps in the Netherlands
As per Apple, the 27% commission is a reduced rate as it “excludes value related to payment processing and related activities”. As mentioned above, this 3% reduction will be offset by the fees that developers will have to pay to payment providers so, in the end, this will just require more development effort and ongoing reporting on their side, with no savings. It is clear that Apple has carefully constructed this policy to discourage developers from using third-party payments, and there is already backlash from the community.
The “reduction” in commission rate is just one aspect of the policy. Developers will also have to ensure that their apps comply with the following requirements from Apple:
- The apps will not be able to support in-app purchases.
- An in-app screen shall be shown before users are directed to an external payment provider. As per Apple, the design and messaging of this modal sheet must match what Apple has outlined.
Title: You’re about to leave the app to process your payment on an external website
Body: Any purchases made externally will be managed by the developer “<Developer Name>.” Your stored App Store payment method and related features, such as subscription management and refund requests, will not be available. Only purchases through the App Store are secured by Apple.
Action 1: Continue
Action 2: Cancel
- Any links to the payment provider must all point to a single URL that is specified in the app’s info.plist file. Developers cannot use any parameters to customize the URL based on their app’s varying needs.
- Developers will have to submit a report every month to Apple which should list all the transactions made using the app with the external payment provider.
Apple has already been fined $5.6 million for failing to comply with the Dutch dating app antitrust order as the deadline was January 15, 2022.