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It Is Real Money!

There are so many free games out there. But be aware — a free app can actually cost you $100 or more! How? by in-app purchases!

Free apps with in-app purchases (called freemium) are becoming more and more prevalent in the app stores and are a big source of revenue for app developers. While they’re free to download, they offer incentives within the app to buy things that cost REAL money. Things you can buy: furniture for the house, outfit for your favorite character, skip a level to move up, … Some high-gross apps using freemium model: Smurfs’ Village, DragonVale, Tap Zoo, Tap Pet Hotel, Tiny Zoo Friends. To give you an idea how much you can spend in the app – in Smurfs’ Village, you can buy the app’s premium currency, Smurf Berries, by bucket – $5, bushel – $10, barrel – $25, wheelbarrow – $50, or wagon – $100.

Everyone heard stories of surprising phone bills from kids’ texting. In-app purchase could be your next shocking surprise. Don’t let it happen to you!

What you can do:

1. Turn “In-App purchase” off. Some places (Amazon AppStore, iPhone) allow you to turn it off completely in the setting.

2. Keep the password to yourself. Don’t put in the password in front of your child. If you don’t have a password, set one up right now.

3. Talk with your kids about the differences between game money and real money.

4. Set a budget and let your child know his/her budget. Use a gift card or debit card, instead of credit card, to pay for the game.

No one actually stopped texting because of the phone bill. Don’t stop playing the games because they have in-app purchase. We can all learn how to manage it. Please share your tips on keeping the in-app purchase within your budget.

Happy gaming!

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