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TikTok’s virtual coin recharge reportedly circumvents Apple App Store 30% commission fee

In a move that could ruffle feathers at Apple HQ, TikTok appears to be experimenting with a way to bypass the App Store’s 30% cut on in-app purchases.

According to TechCrunch , some users are seeing an option to buy the app’s virtual coins directly on TikTok’s website. These coins are typically used for tipping creators and buying them through the app currently funnels a hefty chunk of the cash to Apple.

Tiktok Circumvents Apple App Store Commission Fee Fi

Upon checking the link tiktok.com/coin 14, a sweet 25% discount is prominently displayed, which they frame as “avoiding third-party service fees.” Apple Pay is even an option alongside traditional credit cards, at least according to the screenshots from TechCrunch.

Previously in January, Apple updated its App Store rules to allow some apps to link out to external payment systems. However, there’s still a catch: a commission fee applies, ranging from 12% to 27% depending on the developer. This throws shade on how TikTok’s 25% discount would work with Apple’s commission fee.

Plus, there’s a question of transparency. Apple requires apps to clearly inform users when they’re being directed outside the App Store. Reports suggest TikTok might be skipping this step, potentially violating Apple’s guidelines.

This is quite similar to other apps like YouTube Premium. Though not technically directing users to their website, YouTube Premium offers a lower price (Php169/month for individual) if users subscribe directly through their website.

Youtube Premium Price Comparison (app Store Vs Web)

This avoids the App Store markup, which increases the cost (Php209 monthly fee) if users pay using the app.

Neither TikTok nor Apple has commented on the situation. It’s unclear if this is a limited test or a strategic move by TikTok.

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Avatar for JM Chavaria

JM's highest stat is probably his curious ardor to anything tech—electronics and gaming in particular. He certainly heeds utmost regard to specsheet, visuals, and rule of thirds. If creativity and wit sometimes leave JM's system, watching films, anime and a good stroll for memes are his approved therapeutic claims.

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