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Fight temptation and protect your Android against in-app purchases

The temptation to spend a few dollars within your favorite Android apps is always there — especially if you’re an avid gamer — but that small amount can rapidly snowball into a large sum of money if you’re not careful. Conversely, you might not be tempted, but if someone else often uses your Android phone or tablet, then it may also be wise to secure it from accidental (or purposeful) purchases that could come back to bite you in the wallet.

Luckily, it’s easy to protect yourself against this on Android devices. We put together a quick guide to help you better fend off the hungry in-app purchase beast lurking in many, many apps.

Use a password

Google has a couple of ways to ensure that your device is protected against unintended purchases, but the most common across all Android devices is to use a password. Here’s how:

Step 1: Tap to open the Google Play Store.

Step 2: Tap the Hamburger icon (three lines) on the left side of the search bar.

Step 3: Tap Settings listed on the roll-out menu.

Step 4: Tap Require Authentication for Purchases.

Step 5: Tap one of the three options.

Step 6: Type in your Google Account password to confirm the change.

Even if you don’t activate this option, Google Play will always ask for your account password in apps with a 12-or-under age rating. This way, it will do the same for every in-app purchase.

Use biometric authentication

Another way to prevent unwanted in-app purchases is to use biometric authentication. This requires a scan of your finger or face versus manually tapping in a password each time. Here’s how to toggle this setting on:

Step 1: Tap to open the Google Play Store.

Step 2: Tap the Hamburger icon (three lines) on the left side of the search bar.

Step 3: Tap Settings listed on the roll-out menu.

Step 4: Tap Biometric Authentication.

Step 5: Type in your Google Account password to confirm the change.

Remember that Google Play will always ask for your account password in apps with a 12-or-under age rating, even if you don’t enable the option to verify all purchases. This option will prompt Google Play to demand your account password for all transactions you make on new apps.

We highly recommend enabling biometric authentication if you want to ensure the best purchase protection. Passwords are often not as secure and can land in the wrong hands. With a fingerprint or face scanner, even if someone has your password, they can’t make any purchases.

With the rapid pace of technological innovations, you can find biometric authentication on many Android smartphones, even budget models. Most companies recognize biometric verification as one of the most secure ways to protect accounts and identities from hackers and, therefore, use it more and more. Setting up biometric authentication is easy, too.

Manage those kids!

Managing in-app purchases doesn’t just apply to your phone. Perhaps you have kids with Android devices, and you want to make sure they’re not draining the credit card associated with the main account. For instance, your daughter may play Animal Jam, but you don’t want her purchasing sapphires by the truckload — that would be financially catastrophic. Here’s how to nip that in the bud:

Step 1: Tap to open the Google Play Store.

Step 2: Tap the Hamburger icon (three lines) on the left side of the search bar.

Step 3: Tap Account.

Step 4: Swipe a finger left until you reach the Family page.

Step 5: Tap Manage Family Members.

Step 6: Tap on the family member you want to restrict.

Step 7: Tap Purchase Approvals.

Step 8: Tap one of four options on the list.

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