How to Add Money to a Child’s iTunes Account

itune_dollarYesterday I spend well over 30 minutes trying to figure out how to add a small amount of money to my daughter’s iTunes account. Unfortunately there isn’t a simple way for parents to transfer and exact funding amount to another iTunes account. I found a way, however, to add to my child’s account without worry that she will irreversibly extend my credit card too far.

When we set up the iTunes account on Christmas day, we did not enter a credit card number. Rather, Santa Claus brought her a gift certificate for $10 worth of iTunes downloads. Through the year she has been able to credit her account via iTunes’ excellent redeeming system using various iTunes gift certificates she’s received along the way.

The credits are drained, though, and she wanted one song this week for a school project. ONE SONG! Online gift certificates are only purchased in $10 increments, and I wasn’t about to throw that her way. Instead we logged into my credit card account at Bank of America’s website and created a ShopSafe (temporary credit card) with a $2 limit. We entered this number into iTunes’ credit card setup.

Then my daughter purchased the song on her iPod Touch. As her $0.52 credit remaining in her account wasn’t enough to buy the $1.29 song, iTunes kicked in and charged the remaining $0.77 to the temporary credit card.

iTunes Help system ignores this method and, instead, wants you to purchase $10 increments. Not..”simple”…

Apple really needs to overhaul iTunes. There is no reason that one could not go ahead and transfer any dollar increment to the iTunes account from a credit card. These funds should show up as iTunes credits in the exact same manner that gift certificate redemptions do.

Additionally, Apple needs to set up a Secondary account system where children’s accounts can be adequately managed. A log of all app and song purchases, texts, YouTube videos watched, and FaceTime sessions should be readily available from the Primary user’s iTunes account. Primary account users could also shuttle funds in exact amounts to and from these accounts as needed.

The internet is a potentially dangerous place, and few will disagree that parents need to carefully monitor their children’s activities on the internet. The iOS system is extremely difficult to monitor, however. Apple needs to help parents do an adequate job by allowing linked accounts and by opening activity logs to parents.

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