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My child has his own email address and his own account on a tablet that we share. He wants to spend his allowance on a video game, and I wish to trade his allowance cash to me buying this game for him somehow.

I refuse to enter my credit card or use PayPal on that tablet, because, well, Android, as much as I like it, given the apps my child installs randomly at will, and given that Android clearly is not a secure system at all, I feel I'd be running a major risk entering any passwords on it.

So, I envision me on my secure Linux system, purchasing some sort of Play Store currency, which I can hand over to my child somehow, like through an email or something. I don't want to physically go to a store to buy a gift card which can then be redeemed. I want to buy something, once, online, that allows my child to then purchase the game he wants.

Is this possible?

P.S. I'm in Canada.

3 Answers 3

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You can buy an application in the website version of the Play Store to remotely install application in the tablet. This way, you'll be entering your credit card details in a computer you can trust.

In the tablet itself, if the child goes to Play Store to purchase a paid application, the last 4 digits of your credit card numbers will be displayed on the device. When you use the default setup (which is to ask to reenter password for every purchase), he will not be able to make any purchase unless he knows the Google Account's password.

If him knowing your last 4 digits of your credit card number is a worry for you, you can detach the credit card after every purchase. I think this is probably unnecessary, if he wants to know your credit card number, it will be a lot easier for him to just snap a picture of your credit card out of your wallet if you live together.

I recommend using a dedicated account for app purchase rather than using your own personal account (you probably don't want him reading your emails) or your child account (he probably should know the password to his own account). You can attach multiple Google Accounts to a single device.

Another possibility is to just tell him to buy the gift card himself. He wants the game and he has the money, he can buy the gift card himself. This is assuming he's mature enough to go to a supermarket/store alone.

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    I've created a google account with a made up name, and I've logged in on it at both the PC and on my Nexus tablet. I had to install something and agree to the terms for things to become connected. I'm able to browse the playstore on my PC and then tell it to install on the tablet. The problem I have is with the options I get: "Add credit or debit card", "Add a Paypal account". "Adding" a card to this account feels like I'm handing over my credit card for future use. I find that unacceptable. I'm ok with paying for a single transaction, but I don't want to fork over my card for the record.
    – Mike
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 21:47
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    ... what I want is to buy credit towards the play balance. If I can physically buy a gift card in a store and redeem it which converts it to play balance, why can't I go a google web page and buy play balance using my credit card or paypal account? What is with this google accounting needing to become "attached" by me "adding" my card to this account? I'm not trusting this. Next thing you know, my child loses the tablet, and some hacker starts charging stuff to my card. I don't my card "attached" to anything. When I shop in a store, I'm not "adding" my card to the store, so why with Google?
    – Mike
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 21:54
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    I see the option on the left hand side of the website to buy credit. play.google.com/store I think its more of a convenience thing, that they store your credit card for future purchases. You could always add the card. Buy the credit. Then once you have the credit. Click on the gear in the top right of the site. Goto My account, Edit payment method and remove the card. Short of doing it this way or going to the store. I dont think there is any other way at the moment.
    – jer3my
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 22:51
  • @Mike: merchants and payment processors that process/store credit card data must comply with PCI-DSS. This is a set of security standards that specifies how sensitive cardholder information are processed/stored. This standard is enforced by all major credit card providers. Any merchants or payment processor found to be in non compliance receives heavy fines, lawsuits, and loses their ability to process card payments. PayPal and Google Wallet are PCI-DSS compliant payment processors.
    – Lie Ryan
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 1:16
  • @Mike: If you link your card to Google Wallet or PayPal, the full card number is never disclosed to the device nor to the merchant, and you will be asked to enter your password for every transactions, even if the Google Account is logged in to the system. You will also receive an email for every transaction you made, which includes the merchant's name, item detail, and payment amount. Your stored card can only be used if the attacker also knows your Google Account password and you have an audit log of your purchases.
    – Lie Ryan
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 1:22
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Could always send his account money from your account via Google wallet. Sign into the webpage on your computer. Send him the money that way. Then he can use the money for apps, in app purchases and etc.

Edit. Also I would install the Google Rewards app, earn money for surveys and that's saved to your wallet as well. Then you can use that as well for purchases.

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  • It seems that Google Wallet is only available for US residents. I'm in Canada.
    – Mike
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 17:01
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You might be able to send someone to buy prepaid Play Store cards with a certain budget in supermarkets, if they're available in Canada. Then give your child the card and it can only spend the amount of cash that you've paid for the card.

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    OP already mentioned this: "I don't want to physically go to a store to buy a gift card which can then be redeemed"
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 8:59

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