While smartphones and tablets are great as temporary digital nannies to keep kids entertained, they also pose a potential risk for kids to spend their parents’ hard-earned money on in-app purchases and the Google Play Store itself. Find out how to avoid accidental and unwanted purchases on your Android smartphone or tablet in this article.
Anyone with young children would most likely have handed a smartphone or tablet into their child’s hands, assuming those little ones don’t already have their own device. But with so many games offering in-app purchases, how do you stop them from maxing out your credit card limit?
With the popularization of the one-click shopping feature, such convenience makes it a danger for poorly secured devices in the hands of children. Securing your device will also help you avoid impulse purchases or even accidental purchases.
Google and Apple both offer tools to control or prevent such unwanted or accidental purchases on Android or iOS / iPadOS. In this article, we’ll show you how to do this in the Google ecosystem.
Avoid unwanted purchases on your smartphone by your child
If the child (or teenager) is using your smartphone or tablet with your Google user account signed in, the easiest solution is to have all purchases require approval via confirmation of the account password. To do so, just follow these steps:
- Tap the profile picture at the top corner of the screen in the Play Store.
- To choose Settings.
- Press the Authentication to launch the available options.
- To select Require authentication for purchases.
- To choose For all purchases through Google Play purchases on this device.
As the option itself has already been mentioned, you will have to repeat the steps on all tablets and smartphones used by the child.
Important: do not activate the Biometric authentication option, otherwise the child can authorize purchases using their fingerprint or other biometric systems registered on the device.
Needless to say, your Google account password is personal and should never be shared with your child. If necessary, also disable the activation of biometric authentication.
After following the steps above, whenever you or anyone else using the device wants to make a purchase, you will need to authorize it by entering your Google Account password, including in-game purchases and in the app that are based on the Google Play Services Payment System.
Another important point is not to forget to repeat the steps for all user accounts that have been registered on the smartphone or tablet. This will prevent unwanted scares on devices being used, for example, covering both personal and business spaces.
Parental controls also help prevent unwanted purchases
Another option that we recommend if your child has their own tablet or smartphone is to force purchase authorization using parental controls. Google offers the Family Link app for this purpose. This app allows you to create a user account specifically for your child or teenager, as well as include other admin options for YouTube, web search, etc.
After installing the app on your smartphone or the child’s guardian’s smartphone, launch Family Link and follow the steps below:
- Once the application is launched, choose the user account of the parent or guardian.
- In the next screen, select the Parent option.
- To choose Next then I’m ready.
- On the next screen, we will choose to create a new account for the child by pressing No.
- If she already has a Google account, just go to Settings on the other device, then Google > Parental control, and configure the device to be managed from your smartphone.
- Faucet Next to begin the account creation process, which will require more information and may take around 10 minutes.
- At the end of the creation process, press the Next button.
Once the Family Link account is created, use the login as the primary Google account on the child’s device. Then, go back to your smartphone and launch the Family Link app to configure the appropriate restrictions on the child’s account:
- Press the Seen under the profile that will have restricted purchases.
- Select the Manage settings option.
- To choose Google play.
- Faucet Require approval for.
- Select the All content option just to be safe!
Once done, every time the child tries to purchase content, they will need to authorize the transaction on the parent or guardian’s device.
Depending on the configuration of the secondary account, it should be checked that no payment method is registered on the account. If there is, just follow the steps in the next section.
Remove associated credit or debit cards from the Google Account
This option is a bit more drastic and is not recommended if you also buy many apps, have subscriptions or recurring payments associated with your Google Account, or use the Google Pay service. Removing all of your payment methods from the Google Account applies to all devices associated with the sign-in, so think carefully before proceeding and delete your account.
To remove a credit card, debit card, or other payment method from your account, follow these steps:
- Launch the Play Store app and tap on your profile picture.
- Select the Payments and subscriptions option.
- To choose Payment methods.
- Scroll down and launch the More payment settings option.
- The browser will open a list of all available payment methods saved on the account. Faucet To delete.
- Confirm deletion of the credit / debit card from the account by pressing To delete again.
You will need to repeat these steps for each registered payment method, as well as for all user accounts associated with the device.
In addition to the precautions listed above, it’s important to remember that some apps and games can still store map data regardless of your Google Account. For this reason, it is always a good idea not to leave your child unattended with your credit or debit card, while monitoring your credit / debit card statements each month and turning on spending notifications if the bank or l The financial institution that issues the credit / debit card offers such an option.