Google Play adding 'new forms of payment,' shuffles developer payouts

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is revamping its payout schedule for Android application developer partners, stating the change is designed to accommodate new Play storefront payment options.

According to a Google email sent to Android developers, Play payouts are shifting from two days after the end of each month to 15 days. In an attempt to ease the transition, Google made an interim payment for January 2013 Android app sales on Feb. 2; it will make another interim payment for sales completed between Feb. 1 and Feb. 13 on Feb. 15, with payment for sales between Feb. 14 and Feb. 28 following Mar. 15. Google will reimburse developers for all March sales on Apr. 15, making all subsequent Play payments on the 15th of each month.

"We are committed to providing you with a consistent and reliable payout experience while we introduce new forms of payment to better serve your users and create more revenue opportunities for you," the Google email states. "These changes will allow us to ensure users can buy your apps and we can transmit payments to you in a reliable fashion."

It is unclear what kind of additional payment functionality Google Play plans to offer. All four major U.S. operators--Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile USA--already offer direct carrier billing for Android app purchases from Google Play, although none of the nation's smaller regional carriers currently support the option. Consumers may also buy download premium Android apps using any credit, debit or gift card from Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover. Google additionally sells dedicated Play gift cards available from retail partners including Target, RadioShack and GameStop.

Leaked information connected to Google's Wallet contactless payment application suggests a future update will add PayPal-like account balance functionality, enabling consumers to deposit cash to Wallet from a checking account. TechCrunch speculates that maintaining a floating Wallet cash balance could encourage users to purchase more premium applications and in-app goods from Google Play. Google released an updated version of Wallet last week highlighted by a new user interface, but did not deliver expanded balance features or the physical credit card rumored since last fall.

Google Play has struggled to keep pace with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) rival iTunes Store, which includes its App Store for iPhone and iPad. For example, mobile gamers who play titles on iOS devices spend five times more than their Android counterparts, according to a study published last year by market research firm Newzoo. "When analyzing Apple's successful monetization, there is one dominant factor outside of differences in audience demographics and preferences: Apple requires users to connect their credit card information directly to their [iTunes Store] account, thus creating a seamless purchase experience," explained Newzoo CEO Peter Warman.

For more:
- read this TechCrunch article

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