We already have a credit card gateway with a local bank. We also have a prepaid card voucher in the market.

In our game, a user will create an account within our portal. The user will "recharge" his account via credit or prepaid (voucher) cards. Then the user will buy services and subscriptions.

My question is: can I put our credit and prepaid card gateway in our Android and iOS apps in order to recharge a user account that belongs to our portal?

Apple's guidelines are very strict. Relevant points include:

  • Apps utilizing a system other than the In-App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an App will be rejected
  • Apps offering subscriptions must do so using IAP, Apple will share the same 70/30 revenue split with developers for these purchases, as set forth in the Program License Agreement
  • Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the App, such as a "buy" button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected

For Android, it may matter which store you sell through; you didn't specify. Google Play's content policy says, of in-app purchases:

  • Developers offering virtual goods or currencies within a game downloaded from Google Play must use Google Play's in-app billing service as the method of payment.
  • Developers offering additional content, services or functionality within another category of app downloaded from Google Play must use Google Play's in-app billing service as the method of payment, except:
    • where payment is primarily for physical goods or services (e.g., buying movie tickets, or buying a publication where the price also includes a hard copy subscription); or
    • where payment is for digital content or goods that may be consumed outside of the app itself (e.g., buying songs that can be played on other music players).

So basically, For iOS the answer is definitely no. For Android in the Play store, the answer is also no. In both cases, you can't charge users directly via your own payment portal. You'll have to use the in-ecosystem IAP mechanisms available to you and convert that into appropriate tokens for representing purchases on your back-end.

I'm having a harder time finding the relevant guidelines for other potentially-applicable Android stores, such as the Kindle store (the guidelines are here, but they don't seem to explicitly call out that you must use the Amazon API for purchasing -- only that Google's API will not work).

  • But I have seen in many application, they are using other payment method. Like, Onecard android application, user recharge their account by their prepaid card. PayTM android application are using credit card to recharge mobile. – Sajib-Mist Oct 23 '14 at 5:28
  • @Sajib-Mist While I don't know those services or apps, those definitely sound like something you could/would use outside those specific apps, which makes the whole thing acceptable. Just by allowing others to access the service/purchased stuff outside the app might be enough to make it legitime on the Play store. – Mario Oct 23 '14 at 6:50
  • If I create payment portal in a webpage and embed that page as a view in the application, then is it possible for both Android and IOS? – Sajib-Mist Oct 23 '14 at 6:59
  • @Mario If you see for the onecard app, user recharge his account by prepaid card and use that balance inside the app to purchase product. It means, user is using his recharged balance inside the app. Is it allowed? – Sajib-Mist Oct 23 '14 at 7:15
  • I think it's pretty dangerous to try find ways to weasel around the rules; especially in Apple's case. Take a good, long look at their guidelines. – Josh Petrie Oct 23 '14 at 15:18

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