Google recently changed its payout schedule for Android app developers, moving from a window which saw developers paid two days after the month ends, to a new window where the payout date is 15 days after the month’s end. The move will allow Google to hold onto payments longer, which benefits the company of course. But when Google informed developers of the change, it cited “new forms of payment” as the reason for the lengthened window.
In public, a few developers have posted their outrage and/or general confusion to sites like Hacker News and Reddit, speculating that the move, in reality, was prompted by everything from a need to fight spammers to the desire to keep money in the bank longer, where it could grow interest. This response has to do more so with the language Google used to explain the shift, rather than the actual change itself – the company told developers that the move will allow it to “better serve your users and create more revenue opportunities for you,” which is what developers are reacting to.
For small time developers, it’s hard to see the benefit of having to now wait an extra two weeks for payment. As one developer told me, this could be “the difference between making rent and not” for some app makers. For bigger developers, the move isn’t as damaging, it’s just more of a nuisance. After all, Apple pays out even later, so this isn’t entirely unprecedented here.
But while the big news for developers is the change to the payments window, what jumped out at us from the Google memo is part where Google introduced the change as coming “while we introduce new forms of payment.” New forms of payment, hmm? Google already supports Visa, MasterCard, Amex and Discover via Google Wallet integration for buying apps and in-app payments. Carrier billing is available in some markets as well. It even has gift cards.What’s missing?
We’re secretly hoping this has to do with that forthcoming option to keep an ongoing “Google Wallet balance” in the upcoming (leaked) version of Google Wallet. When Google rolls out its new, universal Google Wallet plastic card, it’s also introducing a system that will allow end users to deposit money into Google Wallet from their checking account, as well as withdraw it. This would make Wallet more operate more like PayPal.
And having a floating cash balance in Google Wallet could, in turn, encourage more users to pay for apps or buy in-app items. According to the leaked info, the cash transfers take up to 3 to 6 days to process. That doesn’t necessarily translate into a direct need for another two weeks of processing time on Google’s end, but it could certainly impact the flow of transactions in Google Play.
Pure speculation at this point, of course, but it’s as plausible an explanation as any. More to come.
Full text of the developer email below:
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. In order to do so, we are shifting our payout date to 15 days after the month’s end.
Starting in February 2013, we will transition you to a schedule from being paid two days after the end of the month to 15 days after the end of the month. In an attempt to ease the transition, we will make two interim payments before you are completely shifted to the new payment schedule as follows:
- February 2nd: Payment for January sales
- February 15th: Payment for February 1 – 13 sales
- March 15th: Payment for February 14 – 28 sales
- April 15th: Payment for March sales
And every month after, you will also receive payment on the 15th.
We remain committed to offering a best in class marketplace for developers to sell their apps. These changes will allow us to ensure users can buy your apps and we can transmit payments to you in a reliable fashion.
If you have any questions, please contact Google Checkout Merchant team at http://support.google.com/checkout/sell/bin/request.py
Thank you for your continued support of Google Play.
The Google Play Team
Image credit: AndroidPolice