Consumable with Google Play

We will proceed in steps: setup, initialization, presentation and purchase.

First some setup.

  1. Install NodeJS and Cordova

  2. Setup your Cordova project

  3. Prepare an Application on Google Play

  4. Install the In-App Purchases plugin

  5. Build a Release APK

  6. Create a Product on Google Play

  7. Upload a Release APK to Google Play

  8. Prepare Test Accounts

Of course you can skip the first few steps if you already have a working application you want to integrate the code into.

Once we have a Cordova application with IAP support enabled and everything is in place on Google Play, we will get into some coding.

  1. Initialize the in-app purchase plugin

  2. Handle the purchase events

  3. Deliver our product

  4. Secure the transactions

This guide uses the plugin at version 13 or later (which is in beta at this stage).

Setup for Google Play

1. Install Dependencies

Needless to say, make sure you have the tools installed on your machine. During the writing of this guide, I've been using the following environment:

  • NodeJS v10.12.0

  • Cordova v8.1.2

  • macOS 10.14.1

I'm not saying it won't work with different version. If you start fresh, it might be a good idea to use an up-to-date environment.

2. Create Cordova Project

Making sure we have a Cordova project that we can build for Android and/or iOS.

Create the project

Create the project

If it isn't already created:

$ cordova create CordovaProject cc.fovea.purchase.demo PurchaseNC
Creating a new cordova project.

For details about what those parameters are:

$ cordova help create

Note, feel free to pick a different project ID and name. Remember whatever values you put in here.

Let's head into our cordova project's directory (should match whatever we used in the previous step.

$ cd CordovaProject

Add Android platform

$ cordova platform add android

Will output:

    Using cordova-fetch for cordova-android@~11.0.0
    Adding android project...
    Saving android@~11.0.0 into config.xml file ...

Let's check if that builds.

$ cordova build android

Which outputs:

    Android Studio project detected
    Starting a Gradle Daemon (subsequent builds will be faster)
    BUILD SUCCESSFUL in 1m 49s
    Built the following apk(s):

Hopefully there's no problems with our Android build chain. If you do have problems, fixing it is out of scope from this guide but it's required!

3. Create Google Play Application

Make sure we have a Google Play application created and configured.

Create the App

Need more help? I recommend you check Google's own documentation. It's well detailed, easy to follow and probably the most up-to-date resource you can find.

4. Install Cordova Purchase Plugin

To install the plugin, we will use the usual cordova plugin add command.

cordova plugin add cordova-plugin-purchase"

Now let's try to build.

cordova build android

Successful build?


All good! Seems like we can build an app with support for the Billing API.

Let's now prepare a release APK.

5. Android Release APK

To generate a release build, I generally use the following script:

The script calls cordova build android --release with the correct command line arguments. It requires you have generated a keystore file for your application already.

If you haven't generated a keystore file for your application yet, you can use the following command line:

keytool -genkey -v -keystore android-release.keystore -alias release \
-keyalg RSA -keysize 2048 -validity 10000

I'll ask you a few questions. The only tricky one is "Do you wan't to use the same password for the alias?", the answer is yes. Please note that the above command defines the keystore's alias as release, you can use any value, but just remember the value you chose.

Keep the android-release.keystore file in a safe place, backup it everywhere you can! Don't loose it, don't loose the password. You won't EVER be able to update your app on Google Play without it!

Then build.

$ export KEYSTORE_ALIAS=release
$ export KEYSTORE_PASSWORD=my_password
$ ./

Replace $KEYSTORE_ALIAS and $KEYSTORE_PASSWORD with whatever match your those from your keystore file...

The output should end with a line like this:

Build is ready:


There you go, this is your first release APK.

6. Upload to Google Play

Once you have built your release APK, you need to upload it to Google Play in order to be able to test In-App Purchases. In-App Purchase is not enabled in "debug build". In order to test in-app purchase, your APK needs to be signed with your release signing key. In order for Google to know your release signing key for this application, you need to upload a release APK:

  • Signed with this key.

  • Have the BILLING permission enabled

    • it is done when you add the plugin to your project, so make sure you didn't skip this step.

Google already provides detailed resource on how to upload a release build. What we want here is to:

  1. create an internal testing release

  2. upload it

  3. publish it (privately probably).

Once you went over those steps, you can test your app with in-app purchase enabled without uploading to Google Play each time, but you need to sign the APK with the same "release" signing key.

Note that it might up to 24 hours for your IAP to work after you uploaded the first release APK.

7. Create In-App Products

There is still a bit more preparatory work: we need to setup our in-app product.

Back in the "Google Play Console", open the "Store presence" ⇒ "In-app products" section.

If you haven't yet uploaded an APK, it'll warn you that you need to upload a release APK.

Once this is done, you can create a product. Google offers 2 kinds of products:

  • Managed Products

  • Subscriptions

The latest is for auto-renewing subscriptions, in all other cases, you should a "Managed Product".

  • Click the CREATE button.

  • Fill in all the required information (title, description, prices).

  • Make sure the Status is ACTIVE.

  • SAVE

And we're done!

There's might be some delay between creating a product on the Google Play Console and seeing it in your app. If your product doesn't show up after 24h, then you should start to worry.

8. Prepare Test Accounts

To test your Google Play Billing implementation with actual in-app purchases, you must use a test account. By default, the only test account registered is the one that's associated with your developer account. You can register additional test accounts by using the Google Play Console.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Account details.

  2. In the License Testing section, add your tester's email addresses to Gmail accounts with testing access field.

  3. Save your changes.

Testers can begin making purchases of your in-app products within 15 minutes.

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