Be Aware of In-App Purchases: Know What You're Buying

Avoid expensive purchases within mobile apps.

By on April 9, 2013

According to market research, the vast majority of apps downloaded onto smartphones are free. Consequently, app developers are identifying new and innovative ways to make a profit while offering users more value from their apps.

One way in which they’re accomplishing this is through in-app purchases, which enables the user to buy something extra — such as special content or added features — from within the mobile application.

For those of you with children who either have their own app-capable device or play on a parent’s smartphone or tablet, it’s important to educate them regarding in-app purchases and take steps to ensure “mistake shopping” is not unknowingly happening.

Here are a few steps to avoid any unpleasant surprises on your account:

  • Update settings so that any time a user wants to buy something, he or she will have to enter a credit card number.
  • Alter your purchase setting from a specific time-out to immediately, meaning every single purchase requires the password to be re-entered.
  • If you don’t want to allow any in-app purchases, you can disable the feature altogether.
  • Most importantly, check in on what games your kids are playing—and try them out.

Mobile technology offers tremendous value and entertainment. Just like with any other technology, as users, it’s up to us to be aware of the capabilities of our smartphones and tablets and establish parameters for appropriate usage.