If you regularly download apps to your iPhone or Android device, money expert Clark Howard has a simple warning that can protect your wallet.
He says that both Google and Apple have made a habit of overloading users who pay to download apps, as well as those who buy in-app in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
“Know that with apps you use, you usually pay a lot more than you have to,” says Clark.
Are you paying too much for purchases in Apple and Android apps?
In-app purchases and the revenue they generate have become controversial topics for the two technology giants. To understand why, we need to take a look at the pay structures that Apple and Google have required app developers to follow.
Apple mandates that developers pay a commission fee of between 1
Set with these high fees, app developers sometimes pass these costs on to consumers.
Clark says that what Apple and Google do limits the freedom of choice for consumers and burdens the app creators.
“What these two have done is use their shared monopoly control over the phone’s ecosystem to set up ‘tolls’ to rip you off,” says Clark. “In many cases, you do not even realize how much you are being deceived by.”
You may be wondering how the two dominant app stores can get over you when you use their platforms on your mobile phone or tablet. Here is just one example:
When you download a game or service that comes with a subscription or in-app purchase, it is common for the price to be marked, as much as 30%, in the Apple App Store or in Google Play, says Clark.
For example, the Pandora app’s Premium service costs $ 12.99 a month on iOS. It costs $ 9.99 a month via Google Play, the same as on Pandora’s website.
In other cases, you can find apps that are cheaper on Apple instead of Google or still cheaper at a completely different app store.
How legal issues facing Apple and Google Play play a role
This case is part of a broad antitrust lawsuit filed by Epic Games, the maker of the popular Fortnite app, against Apple, as well as a complaint Epic has sent against Google.
One of the problems at stake is Apple’s so-called “anti-control” policy, which prohibits app developers from “directing” users to app platforms where their products may be cheaper.
Meanwhile, Google, which is already facing a complaint from the US Department of Justice related to alleged monopolistic practices, has been sued by 36 states and Washington, DC, in a case that challenges the commission fees the company charges on app developers who sell through the Google Play store.
“This is a huge deal with Apple companies,” says Cark, “… and Google is equally guilty in this area.”
How to avoid paying too much for Apple and Google Apps
“One thing Google and Apple do not want you to know is that you can download an app for iPhone or Android and then go to the provider’s website and sign up for service and avoid the ripoff 30% surcharge,” Clark says.
Although Apple has not spoken publicly about whether it intends to release the management policy willingly, Google acknowledges in a blog post that “If you do not find the app you are looking for in Google Play, you can choose to download the app from a competing app store or directly from a developer’s website. We do not impose the same restrictions as other mobile operating systems do. “
Clark wants to make consumers aware of the choices they have when it comes to paying for content and services in the app.
“I want you to be aware enough that you go outside of buying inside your Apple device or Google device – Android or iPhone – and pay for the services you do on the site. Remember, that’s the difference, he says.
Let’s say you have a Pandora account and you want to add the Plus or Premium version.
- Go to Safari, Chrome or any browser you want.
- Visit Pandora.com and log in to your account.
- Add the right functionality at Pandora.com/upgrade.
Clark says that if you follow these steps, “Apple and Google will not get all the extra money. Because it’s your money they’re running away with. ”
More resources from Clark.com: