Apple will take a 27% cut of third-party app payments in the Netherlands


2021 App Store Awards
Apple certainly isn't making it easy.
Photo: Apple

Apple on Thursday published new details on how it plans to handle third-party payments for dating apps in the Netherlands. The document confirms that Apple will continue to take a cut of all net revenues at a “reduced” rate of 27%.

It also states that developers must provide Cupertino with a report of all transactions each month so that they can be invoiced for the commission. Apple says it has the right to carry out audits to ensure accurate reporting.

Apple lays out rules for third-party payments

The document comes after the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) last month introduced new rules that say Apple must app developers the freedom to implement third-party payment systems.

Although the rule only applies to dating apps for now, Apple is ensuring that for those who choose to offer third-party payments in their apps, it won’t be easy. There are a whole bunch of hoops developer must jump through.

They include building brand-new apps just for the Netherlands that use third-party payments systems exclusively (they cannot offer App Store payments as well), as well as displaying a somewhat scary warning screen.

The warning must make it clear to users that they are leaving the app to make a payment on an external website. It must also state their payments won’t be secured by Apple, and that Apple won’t be responsible for support.

Apple will still take a 27% cut

The most contentious rule is that developers must continue to pay Apple commission at a rate of 27%, net of tax. “This is a reduced rate that excludes value related to payment processing and related activities,” Apple says.

So that Apple can collect this commission, developers must report all transactions each month. Apple has the right to audit them to ensure accurate reporting (and that it is getting its 27% cut).

Given that 27% cut, and all the other complications that come with offering third-party payments, it’s likely most dating app developers will deem it easier to just continue to offer payments through the App Store.

And that is surely Apple’s aim. The company already appealed the Netherlands’ new rules. It seems pushing ahead with third-party payments in the meantime is likely an effort to avoid a fine of up to $57 million.


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