One of the coolest things about cell phones is the ability to download an array of apps that put more functionalities and features at your fingertips. While many of these apps are free, money expert Clark Howard has a simple warning that can protect your wallet when you are shopping for paid apps.
Are You Overpaying for Purchases Inside Apple and Android Apps?
“Know that with the apps you’re using, you’re usually paying much more than you have to,” Clark says.
He says both Google and Apple have made a habit of overcharging users who pay to download apps as well as those who make in-app purchases in Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store.
In-app purchases and the revenue they generate have become controversial topics for the two tech giants. To understand why, we have to take a look at the pay structures that Apple and Google have required app developers to abide by.
What Apple and Google Charge App Developers Trickles Down to You
Apple mandates that developers pay a commission fee between 15 and 30% to have their apps housed in the App Store. Google has a similar policy for placement in Google Play.
Saddled with these high fees, the app developers often pass these charges along to consumers.
Clark says what Apple and Google are doing restricts freedom of choice for consumers and burdens the app makers.
“What these two have been doing is they’re using their shared monopoly control over the ecosystem of phones to put up ‘toll gates’ to rip you off,” Clark says. “In a lot of cases, you’re not even aware how much you’re being ripped off.”
How Much Are You Paying for That Mobile App?
Here are some examples of price differences between the two major app stores. We’ve also added the price of the app on the developer’s website, where applicable.
One example is the music app Pandora, which has a “freemium” pricing model, which means you can listen to music for free in its basic version, but pay for more features like its Premium service.
How Much Does Pandora Premium Cost?
- Apple App Store price: $12.99 a month
- Google Play Store price:$9.99 a month
- Pandora.com price: $9.99 a month
More Price Differences Among Popular Apps
For Minecraft, the iOS version costs $6.99 while the Android version will run you $7.49.
You’ll pay $2.99 for stargazing app Skyview in Apple’s App Store. Meanwhile, in the Google Play Store it will cost you $1.99.
Photo-editing app TouchRetouch is free in Apple’s store, but costs $3.99 on Android platforms.
If you’re someone who buys paid apps, the bottom line is that you should check the manufacturer’s website to see if you can get it for cheaper.
In many cases, you may find that the developer’s price matches one of the app stores, but in some cases, you may find that it’s cheaper. If you want that same app for your desktop computer you may even find that the Microsoft version (which works with your Windows computer) is free!
Clark’s main takeaway is that he wants consumers to do their research. He says you should know the choices you have when it comes to paying for in-app content and services.
He wants you to look not only at the price differences between app stores, but consider the device you’ll be installing the software on. Those factors will determine what you should pay.
“I want you to be aware enough that you go outside of doing purchases inside the Apple device or the Google device — the Android or the iPhone — and pay for the services you’re doing on the website. Remember, that’s the difference,” Clark says.