The app payment model has swung around – where we used to make a single upfront payment, we’re now more commonly paying for in-app items, running down timers or unlocking particular features we need. Google seems to want to help users limit themselves to a monthly spend on in-app purchases and is adding a budget tracking feature to Google Play according to a report from 9to5Google.
We’ve seen a number of class action lawsuits in recent years against companies running platforms that have a framework for in-app purchases, including Google. In each case there’s usually allegations of children running wild on games with in-app purchases and running up huge bills.
Google’s ecosystem a evolved a few ways to handle this like family accounts and payment approvals, but it’s still left to the user to manage their own spending and limit themselves to a budget.
Set a budget, maybe stick to it
It seems that the Google Play app will soon allow you to set a budget for in-app purchases, and you’ll be warned when you’re close to hitting that budget. It won’t currently stop you making purchases.
A new “Purchase History” area (not to be confused with the existing “Order History” area) under the Account section in the Play Store app will show and allow you to configure your budget.
The change is not yet live for all users. It may specific to a new version of the app, or might be a server-side switch.
9totGoogle says that the feature is targeted at “digital extras” (in-app purchases) but it seems the feature would be useful for budgeting direct app purchases as well.