Google is helping Google Play users manage their in-app purchases, adding a budgeting feature on the app.
First spotted by VentureBeat, the feature gives users the ability to track expenses and set a limit in terms of how much can be spent on in-app purchases. The ability to set budgets is only available on the Google Play app on Android devices. It doesn’t work on the internet, noted the report. Once a user sets a budget within the app they are alerted when they make a purchase on how close they are to hitting their limit. The report noted the feature doesn’t prevent users from blowing their budget, it just keeps them aware of how much they’ve spent.
A spokesperson for Google said in the report that the feature is in test mode and that it’s likely going to have a staggered rollout. The budgeting feature extends the controls users already have when purchasing in the Google Play app. As it stands, users can require authentication to make a purchase or block purchases from being made. To keep children’s purchases in check, parents are able to manually approve spending for family members, the report said.
The budgeting feature comes at a time when consumers are spending a fortune on in-app purchases. According to a recent report from Sensor Tower Store Intelligence, spending in mobile apps on Apple’s App Store and Google Play will hit $156 billion by 2023. Over the next five years, the market is expected to see compound annual growth of 16.8 percent. Google Play is expected to account for $60 billion of that revenue.
Residents in the U.S. are also increasingly using Google Play. While Japan was its fastest growing market, growing 43 percent last year, the U.S. is on track to surpass that in 2019. Google and Apple have run into some trouble over the years due to in-app purchases. In 2014 the Federal Trade Commission ordered both companies to pay millions of dollars in refunds to parents after their kids were able to make in-app purchases.