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Google stops Russian Android users from making Play Store purchases

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Highlights:

  • One by one, U.S.-based tech products and services are disappearing from Russia.
  • Google is suspending billing on its mobile app store.
  • Users cannot purchase apps and games, make subscription payments or conduct any in-app purchases of digital goods using Google Play.

Google is suspending billing on its mobile app store, Play, and pausing payment-based services for YouTube users in Russia — blaming “payment system disruption” related to Western sanctions on Russian banks. This means users cannot purchase apps and games, make subscription payments or conduct any in-app purchases of digital goods using Google Play in Russia. Free apps will remain available on the Play Store.

As for existing user subscriptions via the Google Play Store, Google informed that subscriptions will unfortunately not be able to be renewed and will be canceled. However, the existing subscription (i.e. the 1-month or 1-year subscription that the Russian Android user had purchased before this announcement) will continue until the end of the then-current billing period.

In a support note on its Android developer website, Google confirmed the Play billing suspension — writing:

“Due to payment system disruption, we will be pausing Google Play’s billing system for users in Russia in the coming days. This means users will not be able to purchase apps and games, make subscription payments or conduct any in-app purchases of digital goods using Google Play in Russia. Free apps will remain available on the Play Store.”

“We are committed to complying with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws and we continue to monitor the latest guidance. Users in affected regions will still be able to use Google Play, including downloading free apps, but unable to make purchases.”

Will pausing Google Play billing transactions impact developer payouts?

No, this pause does not impact developer payments. If you’re having issues receiving payments, they recommend you to use an alternate payment method, such as an account from another bank or an eWallet that accepts payments. The company also clarified that it will still honor existing developer subscription billing grace periods and any free trials will continue to work until payments are attempted.

YouTube channels in Russia will still be able to generate revenue from viewers outside the country through ads and paid features, which suggests there is not a full cutoff. But it does look increasingly challenging for Russians to be able to make and receive payments to/from foreign entities as Western sanctions bite.

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