Here is the story. I have two kids (5-7 years), they have their Android tablets... and I have the credit card. I have created two google accounts, each for one tablet. I want to buy apps for them, but I don't want to enter any details of my credit card to their google accounts, because the theory is that they will be using these accounts in future to communicate, browse etc. I don't want them charging my card without my knowledge.

A while ago, when buying something in the google play store, I was able to select between one of the tablet accounts and my own account. I then had to enter the password to my own account and was able to install the given app. Now this seems no longer to be possible.

I am lost. I am a 40+ year old Un*x user and I am confused and frustrated by Android. Is there a way of buying apps for my kids that is safe?

  • While I already answered giving you an alternative approach, just for curiosity: What Android version are those tablets on? AFAIK you still can chose the account used for "Play shopping", provided it was configured on the device.
    – Izzy
    Commented Dec 8, 2013 at 12:34

5 Answers 5


There's a much easier way, but it may not be supported in all countries: Buy them each a Google Play Gift Card, and attach it to their accounts. They come in different "sizes", so you can limit the amount they can pay. No identification stuff connected to the cards, and once they're used up there's no more use for them (of course, you can buy the next one).

Another positive aspect: you might decide to let your kids use them themselves. The danger is just as high as the value of the card (though content might pose a risk). So it's like "pocket money" for learning "monetary responsibility" :)

  • 3
    That would be indeed a perfect solution... if there were gift cards for 5 EUR and less (we are talking "70 c fruit ninja" here). And, if I were able to buy them online. But I think this is the way I'll try to go.
    – January
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 5:48
  • 1
    By default one still has to input the password before installing paid content from Playstore, so there's an additional layer of "security". Agreed, with the smallest card coming for EUR 15, you could buy an entire fruity ninja army. But your kids grow, and might soon need some useful apps for school ;)
    – Izzy
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 6:57
  • A friend of mine asked me about this a few days ago and I told him I wasn't sure. This is a very good idea, and I will mention it to him. Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 18:34
  • 2
    “but it may not be supported in all countries” yeah here is the point where this fails ☹ Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 7:54

In Playstore, the user is prompted for the password (unless you disabled it) every time before a purchase can be made.

So what you can do is, make a Google Account JUST for playstore Apps that's logged in across all your and your kids Google Devices. Have every device logged in to that account on top of whatever other accounts your kids personally use on the given device.

That way you can buy whatever apps you want, but they can't since, even tho their device is logged in and has access to all the apps you purchased thru your Google Apps account, they can not purchase new ones without your password.

They can't see the details of your CC since Google will prompt for the password every time the user attempts to access Account Information.


you can buy them on play.google.com and send them to the device.

Add their devices to your account, and send the apps after purchase

  • 3
    This doesn't prevent them from using his card to buy apps themselves. If their devices are attached to his account, then they can potentially use his account if they know his password or if he stays logged into Gmail on his desktop, etc.
    – dotVezz
    Commented Dec 8, 2013 at 15:20
  • @dotVezz only „if they know his password” (unless he had disabled prompting for the password for every purchase) Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 7:56

I have the same problem. My kid wants a some small amount to spend on in-app purchases but the gift card is too big an amount. What i am trying to do as a work around is : set up a paypal account and transferred that small amount into it. Then linked my kid's google account to that paypal account with the limited amount.. keeping my fingers crossed that it will work. Google Playstore is frustrating!!

  • @ale it might be phrased a bit unfortunate, but why isn't it an answer? Summing it up: "You can use Paypal in playstore. So setup a PP account with some pocket money in it, connect it to your kid's account, and that's it."
    – Izzy
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 6:01

You get two choices when you accept to buy an app on the device you want to install app on. Pay or send URL for payment to whoever. So send URL to yourself or whoever is going to pay via email which will auto pop up when you select... Send URL... .. I send to my Gmail account then click link on pc or phone and follow instructions to pay . Easy

  • why is this downvoted? does it no longer work? Commented May 17, 2018 at 23:20

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