How to stop your child from making in-app purchases on your Android phone

Some Android apps let you purchase additional content or services within the app. Examples of these ‘in-app’ purchases include additional functionality, not included in the free version of the app and virtual coins, power-ups, character costumes and levels within a game.

Parents have learnt the hard way that their kids can run up a fortune in credit card charges on in-app purchases if left unsupervised with a smartphone or tablet. Alcatel takes you through the steps you can take to avoid accidental or unwanted in-app purchases on your Android device:

Turn on authentication

Authentication means certain information, like a password or a fingerprint, must be entered on your device to make a purchase. Thus, if you sometimes let your child use your phone, he or she will not be able to make in-app purchases without your permission:

  • Open the Google Play Store app
  • Tap Menu and then Settings
  • Tap Require authentication for purchase
  • Choose a setting
  • Follow the on-screen instructions

If your device supports fingerprint authentication, you can approve Google Play purchases with a fingerprint scan. Turn on Fingerprint authentication in settings.

To change authentication settings, you will need your Google password. You can choose between the following authentication settings:

  • For all purchases through Google Play: The user must provide authentication for every digital content purchase through Google Play on your device, including in-app purchases.
  • Every 30 minutes:  Once you authenticate for a purchase, you will not need to provide authentication for digital content you buy for the next half an hour.
  • Never: Authentication is not required for any purchases. This setting isn’t recommended, even if you never share your phone with a child. Even adults can sometimes make a mistake or purchase on impulse!

As a parent in an Android family group, you can require your children to get your permission for purchasing or downloading content on Google Play.

  • Visit the Google Play My Account page from your computer
  • Click Family Group
  • Click a family member’s name
  • Select All contentAll paid contentOnly in-app purchases, or No approval required

* Please note that your experience with setting up in-app purchase restrictions may differ, depending on the Android smartphone you use.