Google will freeze auto-renewing Play Store subscriptions in India

New rules have prompted Google to limit choices, at least for now.

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A man checks his mobile phone sitting outside a closed shop during restrictions imposed by state government amidst rising Covid-19 coronavirus cases, in Mumbai on April 15, 2021. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP) (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)
INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images

You might take your automatic Android app subscriptions for granted, but people in India won't have it so easy. XDA has learned that Google is suspending signups for auto-renewing subscriptions and free trials after India's central bank (the Reserve Bank of India) instituted rules requiring an extra layer of authentication for subscriptions and other recurring payments. The freeze takes effect in early May and will last until the company addresses "ecosystem challenges," according to email sent to developers.

You can still subscribe to services, but you'll have sign up again at the end of each period. Existing auto-renewing subscriptions aren't affected, but Google is asking app makers to clarify that users are making one-time purchases.

We've asked Google for comment.

The new rules could easily affect other digital services, but they may affect Play Store users more than many. Android dominates the Indian mobile landscape, and subscription services are particularly vital as the country faces a new wave of lockdowns prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic — this may have introduced a significant hassle for millions of people hoping to stream tunes or watch a favorite TV series.

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