Android users in India have commonly faced a huge obstacle while trying to purchase content from the Google Play Store – the debit card support is paltry and prevents most debit cards from being authorized for payment. This has become an even glaring issue this year as Google launched more services such as books, movies, as well as the Nexus 7, which still remain out of reach for many due to the lack of proper support for the most used payment method in the country.
However, soon consumers might have an alternative way to make purchases on Google Play – in the revamped version of the Play Store app, the folks over at NDTV were greeted with the option to set up an “Airtel billing account,” so we could see operator billing soon arrive in India. The option doesn’t currently work (I tried it with my Airtel SIM, my DoCoMo SIM simply doesn’t get detected by the app), giving a “could not connect to mobile network” error, but maybe it will start working once the redesigned Play Store becomes available on devices in India, which would be really great.
It is also possible that this is a general new option in the app and is simply detecting the name of the network but might not actually work, but as someone’s who constantly rued being unable to buy apps, I’d like to think that real support is coming. Google has been pretty aggressive launching their Play services in the country lately, so it wouldn’t be surprising that the search giant is now working on adding more payment options so that people can actually make use of these services.
Carrier billing also makes sense, as the Reserve Bank of India imposes some strict rules on foreign companies when it comes to online payment support, a big reason for PayPal not allowing its full range of services for Indian users, so it’s easier for Google to just tie up with operators instead. Windows Phone users are rather lucky as Microsoft supports local payment, with the OS even asking for Verified for Visa/Mastercard SecureCode passwords with each purchase, and I hope Google follows suit. And soon.
So, I’m off to make a list of apps I wanna buy once carrier billing arrives. Anyone joining me?