How do I stop in-app purchases and other charges when my kids are gaming?

Oh no…you open your credit card bill and discover your child has accumulated expenses on your credit card while gaming. In their defense, they often do it unknowingly to unlock new features on their game. However, it can be difficult to reclaim this money and banks have been found to be reluctant to offer refunds.

It’s important to know how you can prevent your child from spending the money in the first place. Here are our top tips:

Avoid downloading apps with ‘paid for’ content

Apps with ‘paid for’ content (or in-app purchases), such as additional features and prizes, are very sneaky. They entice the player into making purchases in order to have a better in-game experience. This is what appeals to children who do not understand the repercussions of choosing this content. Therefore, we recommend avoiding downloading these apps altogether or testing out apps first before letting your children on them.  

Do not share your passwords or payments details with your children

A simple and fast way to stop your kids from spending your money while gaming is to not give them your password or payment information. That means restricting the apps they use to prevent them from making purchases or ensuring your App Store passwords are difficult to guess.

Even if your payment details are saved on Google Play or the App Store, it will still prompt you to enter your password before you confirm a purchase.

Don’t store your payment details on app stores

Alternatively, you should completely refrain from storing your payment details on your smart device. Although it might prove to be a hassle to manually re-enter your details each time you download an app or make a purchase over your phone, it will completely remove the possibility of your child spending money on your account.

Speak to your child about in-game purchases

Most of the time, children who rack up huge bills on games and apps are completely unaware they are doing so. We recommend sitting down and explaining the situation to your children.

Tell them that they must come to you if a game asks them to buy anything, so you can check whether it will use the game’s currency – or yours. If they are old enough, you could tell them how to spot when a game is trying to charge them, for example by leading them away from the game to the app store.

Use Parental Controls

You can set up parental controls on Google and Apple devices that will restrict access to certain apps at certain times, and you can set it up to stop your child from accessing the store. You can usually customize these parental controls to fit your needs.

Here’s how to set up parental controls on Apple devices and Android devices.

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