Fight temptation and protect your Android against in-app purchases

The temptation to spend a few dollars in your favorite Android game 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, and we put together a quick guide to help you better manage the dreaded in-app purchase. After all, little Johnny may want those extra lives in Candy Crush Saga, but your bank account certainly does not.

Activating Google’s account protection measures

Google has a good few ways of ensuring that your device is protected against unintended purchases, and the best way is requiring a password before any purchase can be made. There are a couple of options here: The Play Store can be set to require a password for every purchase, every 30 minutes, or never. Obviously, we recommend setting it to every time. It’s super easy to get it set up.

  • Open the Google Play Store on your device.
  • Tap the hamburger menu (the three lines) on the left side of the search bar.
  • Scroll down to Settings.
  • Select the Require Authentication For Purchases option.
  • Ensure the first option, indicating all purchases, is selected.
  • When setting this up or disabling it, Google will usually ask for your account password.

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.

How to use your fingerprint scanner for purchase authentication

  • Open up the Google Play Store on your device.
  • Tap the hamburger menu (the three lines) on the left side of the search bar.
  • Scroll down to Settings.
  • Select the Require Authentication For Purchases option.
  • You need to make sure you select the first option. That’s how you apply the setting to all purchases.
  • When setting this up or disabling it, Google will usually ask for your account password.

That’s all there is to it! Keep in mind that even if you don’t activate the option to verify all purchases, Google Play will always ask for your account password in apps with a 12-or-under age rating. By activating this option, Google Play will ask you to input your account password for every in-app purchase.

Enabling your fingerprint scanner for purchase authentication is an even better way to ensure that your device stays secure. We’ve all done it, shared a password with a relative or close friend for the sake of convenience. It’s not unusual, but do you really want them to have the power to purchase apps?  

Thankfully, no one can ever borrow your fingerprint. You can easily establish an extra safety measure by requiring a fingerprint, or biometric authentication for purchases. Getting your fingerprint sensor set up to act as your purchase authentication is easy.

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