Warning… a £2.55 Android app can end up costing you £4.69

One of our readers got in touch with a little cautionary tale, letting us know that his purchase of a £2.55 Android Market app ended up costing nearly TWICE as much once VAT, currency conversion and bank card usage fees were applied to the advertised cost.

The example used here is Squeeze Commander, advertised in the Android Market listing as costing “approximately” £2.55. When you go to pay for it via Google Checkout the system adds VAT to that cost, taking it up to around £3.04…

android app vat fees 2 android app vat fees 1

…then the currency conversion from the buyer’s bank took the actual total charged up to £3.19, before, in our poor reader’s case, his bank (Halifax, Visa debit) then added a £1.50 fee to the transaction. End cost – £4.69.

android market credit card fees

So… you might want to check the terms & conditions of the card you use to buy apps with, as getting a nasty £1.50 transaction fee added to your Android Market purchases can seriously increase the cost of your apps.

16 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. MrChaz

     /  November 18, 2010

    It does show a tilda (~) infront of the price which means ‘roughly’. On the other hand it’s apparently way off a lot.

    Reply
  2. I think this shows the problem with foreign apps in the Market at the present stagte. The price given by Google is presumably a live currency conversion, but doesn’t take into account VAT. The card company has a different ForEx conversion rate, and then it applies a handling fee of £1.50 on top! I wouldn’t be surprised if many people got caught out. Maybe it is time there was something like PayPal used or Google included their own scheme so that the price shown is the price paid because if not this will seriously damage the purchasing of paid apps from cross border developers.

    Reply
    • Tamblin

       /  November 18, 2010

      Is is a little unprofessional and will leave a bad taste in the mouths of some users. How does Apple handle its microtransaction billing?

      Reply
  3. Timbo

     /  November 18, 2010

    As for Paypal, I am sure they do the conversion then charge you in your local currency. Not 100% though. I’d be happy even if they gave you a slightly poorer rate on the conversion if it saved fee’s like this!

    Reply
  4. bitman

     /  November 18, 2010

    this has nothing with the android market to do but the greedy UK banks…

    try to find a credit card like the santander zero so you will not have this £1.50 costs

    and install the OANDA Currency Converter on your android to keep an eye on foreign currency ;)

    Reply
    • Timbo

       /  November 18, 2010

      Bitman, it is related to the Markey via Google checkout. I have just checked with Papal, and they can convert BEFORE charging, therefore avoiding costs like this:-

      When you use your credit card as the payment method, we will give you the choice as to who performs the currency conversion:
      If PayPal performs your currency conversion, we will disclose the conversion rate to you at the time of the transaction
      If you choose the credit card association currency conversion, your card issuer will determine the foreign exchange rate to apply to the transaction. You will not be informed of the foreign exchange rate or any additional foreign exchange fees applied until you are billed by your card issuer
      American Express payments are always charged in US Dollars

      About time Google and/or Google Checkout did something about this!

      Reply
    • Andrew

       /  November 18, 2010

      But Santader do charge on their debit cards as Halifax have in this case.

      Reply
  5. Tony

     /  November 18, 2010

    this sort of happend to me with a 79p app got an extra £1 charge

    Reply
  6. Peter

     /  November 18, 2010

    Someone needs to tell Google the Europe isn’t America and get them to display prices including vat.

    Reply
  7. Hi guys,

    That’s really stupid. :-(

    Of these £4.69, I receive £1.78, i.e. the user has to pay roughly 2.65 times the amount of money that the developer will get at the end. What a wonderful ratio. :-(

    Ok, Google cannot do much about the credit card fee, but IMHO they should show all prices “including VAT”.
    Here in Germany it’s not even allowed to show prices for end users without VAT…

    Furthermore, it may be better to charge the user in their local currency (£ in this case) to avoid conversion fees.

    AFAIK, on the Apple AppStore, the developer can set prices for the different regions individually (i.e. the dev can set distinct £, $ and € prices).

    Sorry for the inconvenience. :-/

    PS: I hope you like SqueezeCommander anyway. :-)

    Best regards,
    Christian
    http://www.squeezecommander.com

    Reply
  8. M.P.

     /  November 28, 2010

    TBH this isn’t Google’s fault, as they can hardly be expected to advertise prices including VAT when the rate varies from one EU country to another. The only way they could do it was by buildign a localised version of the store for each country. Just be adults and know your bank’s T&Cs for foreign currency transactions (and, ideally, switch to a bank that doesn’t charge you!).

    Reply
  9. Peter

     /  November 28, 2010

    The vat rate is configured by the developers since Google is too lazy to handle it properly itself. There is no reason the post vat price is not displayed apart from the Markets general crapness.

    Reply
  10. Denni

     /  July 2, 2011

    There is no reason why Google can’t perform currency conversions just as Paypal does (this avoids the 1.50 quid conversion charge and thus works out much cheaper for low-cost items, such as apps). Google ‘helpfully’ converts all prices into Stirling so I’m not buying any more apps unless I _know_ they are from a UK developer!

    Reply
  1. Tweets that mention Warning… a £2.55 Android app can end up costing you £4.69 » Eurodroid -- Topsy.com
  2. Local currencies and in-app purchases coming “this quarter” to Android Market » Eurodroid

Leave a Reply

  • Reviews

    • Sony Xperia Z2 review

      This is Sony’s latest go at producing a high-spec Android flagship model, with the Xperia Z2 ticking every one of 2014’s must-have tech bullet points. It has a large 5.2-inch 1080p display. It has the hot new Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset inside. It has a massive 3GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage. It’s […]

    • LG/Google Nexus 5 review

      Nexus 5It’s smooth to use, the 1080p display is sharp, clear and bright, the device is extremely light and thin and therefore very pocketable and portable — much more so than other 5-inch phones we’ve used. And yet… we’re a bit unimpressed by the overall package…

    • Vodafone Huawei Ascend G510 review

      Huawei Ascend G510A relatively high-spec smartphone, with a 4.5″ display running at 480 x 854 resolution and powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, plus the Ascend G510 arrives running Android 4.1.1 — albeit potentially hindered by Huawei only sticking 512MB of RAM inside it..

    • Kogan Agora 5.0" Dual-core Smartphone review

      We bought one of these using our actual money. We couldn’t quite believe that budget hardware maker Kogan was able to sell a 5″ Android phone for £119 plus delivery from Hong Kong so had to get one to have a look at the thing under our usual LABORATORY CONDITIONS. First impressions of the Kogan Agora […]

    • Panasonic Eluga review

      Panasonic ElugaThe Panasonic Eluga marks the company’s return to the European mobile phone scene years after several years of absence, and it’s come back to us with a moderately high-spec Android model that features a rather stylish, slim case.

    • HTC One V review

      The HTC One V is HTC’s third entry in its high-profile new HTC One range, offering a smaller 3.7″ display running on a single-core 1GHz processor. It is is very much the “affordable” option in HTC’s newest Android series, but it still arrives running the same HTC Sense 4 interface we saw in the excellent […]

    • HTC One S review

      The HTC One S is the piggy in the middle of HTC’s 2012 line-up, offering a 4.3″ AMOLED display inside a very slim and stylish aluminium chassis. You get the same ImageSense camera technology as employed to such great effect in the HTC One X, along with Android 4.0.3 and the very latest HTC Sense […]

    • HTC One X review

      Here it is then, HTC’s new quad-core monster, the 4.7″ flagship for 2012 that introduces the Tegra 3 processor to mobile phones, updates HTC’s range to Android 4.0 and brings us the supposedly streamlined version 4.0 of HTC’s Sense user interface. You also get a fantastic 8megapixel camera that we’ve previously examined in great detail, […]

    • HTC One X review: Camera, photo and video samples

      HTC’s new quad-core flagship phone doesn’t just feature Android 4.0, a 4.7″ display and Nvidia’s newest Tegra 3 chipset – there’s also an entirely new 8megapixel camera in the phone, powered by a system HTC is calling ImageSense. And this camera is one of the many highlights of the new Android phone, offering the perfect […]

    • Sony Xperia S review

      Xperia S Sony returns with an all-new mobile design for 2012, pairing a dual-core processor with a 720p display. It’s a lovely phone, but is it enough to end our Samsung and HTC obsession?

    • Sony Xperia S review: Camera, photo and video samples

      We’ve spent most of the last week captivated by the staggeringly sharp screen of the new Sony Xperia S, while putting together what will hopefully be something resembling a review for you all to read very shortly. In the meantime, to be getting on with, here are a few sample photos and videos, taken using […]

    • LG Prada 3.0 review

      LG Prada 3.0 review LG’s updated Prada phone comes with an absolutely crazy black & white theme, but is it just for fashionable suit wearers who want to make themselves look a bit more interesting?

    • ACCESSORY REVIEW: Case-Mate Tough Case for Galaxy Nexus

      £30? For a phone case? It had better be good.

    • ACCESSORY REVIEW: Samsung Official Mesh Vent Case for Galaxy Nexus

      Samsung’s official Galaxy Nexus case. Costs a lot. Has a glittery little logo.

    • ACCESSORY REVIEW: Case-Mate Barely There for Samsung Galaxy Nexus

      Fresh from reviewing the cheap and cheerful FlexiShield case for the Galaxy Nexus, we’re back with another protective offering from industry veteran Case-Mate. Although this particular product retails for around the same price as FlexiShield’s TPU option, it’s quite a different proposition. Review submitted by extremely patient retro gaming advisor Damo. As the name suggests, […]

    • ACCESSORY REVIEW: FlexiShield Case for Galaxy Nexus

      Seeing as we’ve just reviewed the brand spanking new Galaxy Nexus, we’re in the mood for some accessorising – and we don’t mean earnings and handbags. To that end, we’ll be covering a few Galaxy Nexus-themed items over the next few weeks, starting with the FlexiShield Case. Review submitted by reader, writer, gamer and occasional […]

Archives

Categories