Often we hear about children racking up hundreds of dollars worth of in-app purchases, paid for by their parents with real money. Parents’ consent is usually not there in such cases. Even if they allow one in-app purchase, a 30-minute window is opened in which subsequent purchases can be made without requiring credentials or consent. Children can continue to make in-app purchases without the parents even knowing. A mother recently sued Google after her son spent $66 without her knowledge. The company has now tweaked the way it bills IAPs.
Soon, a new update of the Google Play Store application is going to be pushed out. Users will now be able to choose whether they want to retain the 30-minute window that is opened after an in-app purchase. They can also configure Play Store to ask for a password every time an in-app purchase is requested. For the brave, or those who hand over their devices to their children, there’s an option to never request password for IAPs.
Recently Apple made a similar tweak to the way it bills in-app purchases in iTunes Store. iOS 7.1 brought the change. iTunes account holders are now prompted that a 15-minute has been opened, they too have the option to close the window altogether. Apple was actually ordered by the FTC to make this change, after it settled a complaint and agreed to pay a $32.5 million fine.