App rejected iOS app store - Business: Guideline 3.1.1 - Business - Payments - In-App Purchase

Please provide the following:

  1. SDK Version:19.0.1
  2. Platforms(Android/iOS/web/all):Android/Ios

Hi,

My name is Øystein and I am the founder of a new Startup - Askaloo, and we are currently launching our app.

The App has is made for people who want to connect directly with local people in different places around the world for the best local knowledge.

In our app, we give users the possibility to “tip” the user who are delivering the information to you as a “thank you”. This is although optional.

We use Stipe Customers and Stripe Connect with “Separate Charges”.
https://stripe.com/docs/api/customers

To compair the paymentflow with other apps that use Stripe for payment, such as Uber/Lyft:

“A customer buys a trip though Uber app. He gets deducted from his card for the trip, the money flows through Stripe, Stripe takes a transaction Fee, Uber takes its fees, and the rest of the money goes to the driver”

In our app:

"A customer is satisfied with the help/service. He/She tips the other person beceause they have delived good service. Money goes through stripe, stripe takes its fees, Askaloo(the app) takes its fees, and the rest of the money goes to the person who have provided a great service.

I cant see why this is an issue… ?

I hope somebody could help me here. Any maybe someone have experienced the same problem with apple.

Below you would find our conversation:

First response from apple:

Guideline 3.1.1 - Business - Payments - In-App Purchase

We noticed that your app allows users to “tip” the digital content creators in your app with a mechanism other than the in-app purchase API, which is not appropriate for the App Store.

Next Steps

To resolve this issue, please revise your app to use the in-app purchase API to pay for these sorts of transactions. Please note that while guideline 3.2.1(vii) of the App Store Review Guidelines allows individual users to give a monetary gift to another individual user without using in-app purchase, that gift must not be connected to or associated at any point in time with receiving digital content or services.

While the payment system that you have included may conduct the transaction outside of the app, if the purchasable content, functionality, or services are intended to be consumed within the app, they must be purchased through in-app purchase - unless it is of the type referenced in guideline 3.1.3 of the App Store Review Guidelines.

Our first reply:

Hello!

This application uses Stripe payment platform through which the users of Askaloo app can tip each other. It’s a third party payment system, so could you please specify how I can resolve the In-app purchase problem?

Second response from apple:

Hello,

Thank you for your response.

Regarding 3.1.1, apps that allow users to send optional tips to other users should use in-app purchases.

Additionally, upon further review, we found that your app does not comply with the following guidelines:

Guideline 3.1.1 - Business - Payments - In-App Purchase

We noticed your app includes a mechanism that allows users to exchange virtual items or gifts for money.

Next Steps

To resolve this issue, please remove any in-app feature that allows virtual items or gifts to be exchanged for money from your app. As an alternative, you may consider including a link to your website that exits your app and launches in mobile Safari to offer this service to your users.

We look forward to reviewing your resubmitted app.

Best regards,

App Store Review

Our second reply:

Hello,

As for the following guideline “Guideline 3.1.1 - Business - Payments - In-App Purchase” , you write: We noticed your app includes a mechanism that allows users to exchange virtual items or gifts for money.

I dont think we have any virtual items or gifts for money ? … What is this ?

And about this:
“To resolve this issue, please remove any in-app feature that allows virtual items or gifts to be exchanged for money from your app. As an alternative, you may consider including a link to your website that exits your app and launches in mobile Safari to offer this service to your users.”

  • I dont understand this as STIPE Connects is used in many other 1000 apps inn AppStore for payment in the app.

I also have to underline earlier conversations by phone before we even started developing our app, and I asked someone on support if its possible impelenting payment services such as Stripe, and you said that this would not be any problem, but certainly now - after we have been developing this app for almost 1 year, now you wont accept it ?

I hope you can specify a bit more what is the issue here…

Third response from apple:

Hello,

Thank you for your reply.

Regarding 3.1.1, external payments such as Stripe are acceptable for physical purchases. When users have the option of sending tips to users users like it is the case in your app, this should use in-app purchases. Your app also gives users the possibility to cash out tips through their bank account, which is no acceptable for the App Store.

Please refer to our previous messages for information how to resolve these issues.

We look forward to reviewing your revised app.

Best regards,

App Store Review

Our third reply:

Hi.

I dont not agree with you at all, and where does it say this in your terms ?? That we have to use Inn-app purschases for this kind of service ??
**Services like Uber, Lyft etc doesnt do this, so why do I have to do it ?
On these platforms they also use Stripe where the driver(the ones that do the service) is receiving money straight from stripe to their bank account and the passengers(user) are deducted for the trip.

In my case : the people that help out(provide service) get money to their bank account, and the one who asked questions to get information(uses the service) can pay for it.

What is different from these two option ?


Will be continued…

I had a similar situation. Long story short, you will probably need to end up using in-app purchases since that is required by Apple for non-physical goods (as understand yours falls into that category).

My suggestions are:

  1. Try by adding an Apple Pay button as an extra payment method, I know that sometimes that is enough for them.

  2. Another work around is to say that those are donations, which means that you are not paying for a service or good consumed within the App. Because of that, donations are treated a little different and it might let you get away with it including the Apple Pay button (stripe offers that). The downside is that they might ask you to provide documentation of a registered non-profit. Not sure how it will work in your particular case.

In case you wonder why they are so strict with this, is because they take 30% out of all in-app purchases, that’s their business!

Final advice… do not compare yourself with giants like Uber, Spotify, etc. There is a list of exceptions and for “some reason” Apple treats them differently.

You can always escalate your app to the committee that revises this kind of cases.

Good luck!

Hi @chunia. Thank you so much for the answer. Really appreciate it!

Its not easy arguing with these giant cooperations, thats for sure.

It looks although that Apple will accept this kind of feature if we follow the Guideline in 3.2.1.(vii) below:

(vii) Apps may enable individual users to give a monetary gift to another individual without using in-app purchase, provided that (a) the gift is a completely optional choice by the giver, and (b) 100% of the funds go to the receiver of the gift. However, a gift that is connected to or associated at any point in time with receiving digital content or services must use in-app purchase.

I dont know how Apple is this case are able to verify if “all of the money” goes to the other person or just a percentage…And if they can see it(the percentage), how do they know that this isnt just used for covering the fees that Stripe take? (So that the app is not loosing a lot of money) ?

Your tips for 1) and 2) might be helpful. We could try this, but maybe it would be wise before proceeding , to escalate this to the committee.

How do I get in contact with the “committe”. You know ? :slight_smile:

So sorry @oysteinki, I know very well how frustrating is to be stucked at this point with the app ready to roll out! :man_facepalming:t2:

In my experience, after going back and forth several times (they even called me on the phone), I saw at the bottom of their response a link saying that I could escalate the issue if I was not happy with their answer.

In my case, the issue was a donation button. After I escalated it, the commite approved the app :man_shrugging:t2:

Thanks, so what you are saying is that you also have a app where people can tip each other? :slight_smile:
Did they approve it after you changed it to donation button ?

In my case, it was a donation button that opened up safari with my client’s website. They wanted to process that through in-app purchases at first, then they allowed me to use a donation button as long as Apple Pay was included as a payment method.

So it is a different case. However, I think you still have a chance.

What type of payment provider did you use ?
And did you end up (for your customers) to be able to do the payment within the app ?

So if I understand it correctly, could customers in this case choose to use apple pay ?

I used Stripe.
Users can make a donation by opening a DONATE button that brings up the browser within the app with expo WebBrowser.

1- Donate button

2- The expo WebBrowser loads the donation page from the website but within the app (here Apple asked me to include Apple Pay)

I developed the form including those payment methods. Actually, the first (stripe) and the last (Apple Pay) are both handle by Stripe. But Apple forced me to include the Apple Pay button separately.

I had to provide documentation that my client has a registered non-profit to be able to receive donations. That is done by registering the non-profit on https://www.benevity.com

Hope that helps!

Thanks for further information.

In your case, it does looks like you pay with Apple Pay?
Do you have the opportunity to use Stripe payment directly from your card if you add it ? Or is this not possible ?

Users can pay with both Stripe (with the regular credit card processing) and Apple Pay.

thanks. if if they pay with STRIPE, does apple take this 30% cut then, or are you able to escape it since you say you are a “Charity” ? :slight_smile:

**Btw, do we have some of the same payment flow here?
User1 make a tip/contribution through the app, Stripe and the App itself takes some fees, the rest of the money goes to User2.

Same for you ?

No, Apple only takes 30% out of in-app purchases — this is not an in-app purchase, this is charity.
Yes, that’s the flow. Apple will always suggest first to use in-app purchases, but I think you might get a chance here.
Good luck!

Thank you so much Chunia for taking your time to help me out here. I really appreciate it !

But in your case, just so I understand, since you say its charity, does some money go to the APP as it would in my case ? Or does everything go to the end user?
*Cause if everything goes to the end-user, its not the same setup…

Also; in order for this to work, did you had to open the browser as you mentioned within the app ?
So not possible doing the donation in the app itself ?

Dont know if this is too much to ask, but if you had time a bit later today, is there any way you would be able to have a quick call on skype or something ?

The app is now launched for Android(Google Play). This went really well…

Only thing left then is iOS(AppStore)…

I can skype, no problem! maurohmartinez
I will have a look on Android!

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