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iTunes Allowance for Kids: Stay in Control by Setting up an iTunes Credit Limit

Spread the cost of iTunes credit by using the iTunes Store's allowance feature

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iTunes Allowance Screen

iTunes Allowance Screen

Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

Why Set up an iTunes Allowance?

There are a few good reasons why you should consider setting up a regular monthly iTunes allowance for your child or other family member to use. For starters, you will always be in control of how much they can spend per month on iTunes Store digital products like: songs, apps, audiobooks, videos, etc. You will also be able to budget much more effectively -- especially if you have more than one person to give credit to.

Secondly, from a cash flow perspective you can spread the cost of iTunes credit over a whole year if necessary rather than paying up front (in full) as you would if buying an iTunes gift card or certificate. Considering the security angle too, it also makes sense setting up an allowance so you don't have to use your own personal account, or link your credit card to a separate account which wouldn't have any credit limits imposed on it.

Setting Up an iTunes Allowance

  1. Run the iTunes software on your computer.
  2. If not already in the iTunes Store, click the link in the left pane (under the Store section).
  3. Locate the Quick Links menu on the right-hand side of the screen. Click the Buy iTunes Gift menu option.
  4. Scroll down the list of iTunes Gifts until you see the Allowance option. Click on the Set up an Allowance Now button. You should now see a new page displayed with a short form to fill out.
  5. On the first line, type in your name. To go to the next field in the form either hit the [tab] key or left-click the next text box using your mouse.
  6. In the second line of the form, type in the name of the person who you are giving the iTunes allowance to.
  7. Click the Monthly Allowance drop-down menu and choose how much you want to give the recipient every month -- the default is $20, but you can choose from $10 - $50 in 10-dollar increments.
  8. Using the radio buttons next to the First Installment option, choose when you want your first payment to go off. You can either opt to send the first payment immediately (if it's mid-month for example), or delay it until the first day of next month.
  9. For the recipient's Apple ID option, you can either choose to create one if they don't already have an existing account, or enter their Apple ID -- click on one of the radio buttons to make your choice. Remember though, if choosing to enter an existing Apple ID, make absolutely sure that the details you enter are correct and that the person is actually using their Apple ID!
  10. In the last text box, you can type in a personal message to the person you're gifting, but this is entirely optional.
  11. Click Continue to proceed. If you aren't currently signed into your iTunes account, you'll be prompted to do so at this stage in order to set up the allowance -- enter your Apple ID, password, and then click the Setup button. Don't worry at this stage about committing to buy, you will have a further chance to review your allowance details before purchasing.
  12. If you elected to create a new Apple ID in stage 9, a Create an Apple Account screen will be displayed. Enter their preferred email address along with all the other required information and click the Create button.
  13. If you chose to use an existing Apple ID (in stage 9) that the recipient already has then a confirmation screen will be displayed. Look through this final screen to make sure everything is as it should be and then click the Buy button to commit.

If at a later date you want to change the amount of credit you give per month, or even cancel altogether, then simply sign into your iTunes account as normal to view and manage your settings.

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