Apple has updated its App Store guidelines and developers can now link alternative payment platforms inside their apps. The new development is limited to the iOS and iPadOS App Stores in the US and requires developers to apply for a special entitlement to enable the option to link payments to outside websites and platforms.
There are a few asterisks here, Apple will take a 27% commission of each payment made outside of the App Store (compared to the regular 30% Apple App Store tax), and developers still have to offer Apple’s in-app purchase system in their app. Developers part of the App Store Small Business Program are entitled to a 12% tax.
Apple also shared specific guidelines on how outside payment screens and links to websites should look like and behave as part of the StoreKit External Purchase Link API. Apple will also issue warning screens when apps are trying to redirect users to outside payment platforms reminding users that it will not be responsible for purchases made on the web.
App Store Review Guidelines Section 3.1.1(a)
- Developers may apply for an entitlement to provide a link in their app to a website the developer owns or maintains responsibility for in order to purchase such items.
- In accordance with the entitlement agreement, the link may inform users about where and how to purchase those in-app purchase items, and the fact that such items may be available for a comparatively lower price.
- The entitlement is limited to use only in the iOS or iPadOS App Store on the United States storefront.
- In all other storefronts, apps and their metadata may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchases.