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March 3, 2018

Fight temptation and protect your Android against in-app purchases

by John_A

The temptation to spend a few dollars on in-app purchases 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 back to bite you in the wallet.

Luckily, it’s easy to protect yourself against 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, so 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 and 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.

Find the Settings option under the Google Play Menu

Choose the “Require Authentication For Purchases” option

Select the first option for the highest level of protection

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

This method is an even better way to ensure that your device stays secure, as you might sometimes share your password with close friends or relatives for the sake of convenience — but no one ever borrows your fingerprint. Getting your fingerprint sensor set up to act as your purchase authentication is easy.

  • 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.
  • Find the Fingerprint Authentication option, and check the box.
  • Enter the password you used when you first entered your fingerprint on your device.

That’s it! Both your Google and bank account are now safe from ridiculous bills generated by overspending on items that don’t even exist in the real world. Now you have no one to blame but yourself when you read your bank statements. Just stay away from Pokémon Go, eh?

If you’re looking after young children, then you might want to take a look at the best parental control apps, or if you’re just looking for more security on your smartphone, check out our list of the best anti-virus and security apps.

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