Creating an Apple iPad App Store account for your children without a credit card

The Correct Way! The not so right way. How to correct things if you got stuck.

I have an Apple iPad that I use for business and to support clients that have iPads. To get additional ‘apps’ for your iPad you need an Apple App Store account. This is easy and there are a number of ways to get an account set up. A few of the current methods however require you to provide Apple a credit card for any purchases you might make. There are however a few other methods where Apple provides you an option to specify ‘None’ for credit card payment options. This can be particularly desirable for cases where you want to allow others to use your iPad but not have them end up making purchases that end up on your credit card.

This article is about how to correctly deal with letting other users use your iPad (other Apple devices may also apply) and how those users (or even yourself) can have an Apple Apps Store account that does not have a credit card associated with it … or if one is already associated with it how to remove it … or if you find that your forced to supply a credit card to use the account, one option for how to get beyond that point.Avoiding unintentional charges in the first place

If you do have others using your iPad and you don’t want them using Apple Apps or iTunes Store account for innocently (or perhaps not so innocently) making purchases that end up on your credit card then you will:

  1. Make sure you log out from the iPad App Store before handing your iPad over to them to use.
    [On your iPad go to ‘Settings’ and from the General screen touch the ‘Store’ button located in the left column. You’ll then see the currently logged in Apple ID. Touch the Apple ID and you will be provided an option to ‘Sign Out’. Do this!]
  2. You may need to help users create an App Store login that does not have a credit card associated with it so they can log in to get free apps without charge.
  3. NEW ADDITION: Clear out your ‘copy / paste’ buffer if you have your App or iTunes store password (or possibly any thing personal) ’copied’ in the buffer that someone could easily ‘paste’ to see it. Trust me! I have smart kids. They guessed my password might be in the buffer so they opened up a note app and did ‘paste’ and bingo they knew my password. They already knew my Apple ID and now they knew my password! My kids were silently thrilled. A bunch of charges showed up a few days later (songs, TV shows, apps, etc.). I changed my password once I found out and now make sure I ‘copy’ some simple word from some note app BEFORE handing over my iPad to anyone just to make sure I don’t have any ‘password’ (or other personal information) ready to be revealed by a simple ‘paste’ command.

Note:If you are in the unfortunate situation of already having provided your credit card to an account and you want it removed then the solution I used and share below will work great for removing it from that account! I’ve heard stories from too many parents that did notrealize one or both of the above things with their iPad, iPhone, iTouch or iTunes and found out painfully a week or month later their innocent ‘other’ user had inadvertently rung up a host of purchases of ‘apps’, music, videos, movies and TV shows. Ouch! It’s easy to fix as you will see below. If you are in this situation and want to jump straight to the solution then scroll down and look for the heading labeled “Solution”.

Currently there’s a correct and easy way to create an App Store account and to indicate you don’t want a credit card associated with it … and there are other ways that you can create an account and end up stuck in a loop of being asked for a credit card and no apparent option to say ‘No’ or ‘None’ once you’ve gone down that road.

I’ll first cover the ‘Correct’ way but I also found a solution if you find yourself already stuck in that frustrating loop of not being able to say ‘None’. If you’re stuck and want to get straight to that workaround then scroll down and look for the other heading labeled “Solution”.

The Correct Way from the start – Easy

Clearly using Apple’s recommended way from the start is best. If your teen or other person does notalready have an Apple id with iTunes, the App Store, the Apple Store or Apple’s all inclusive “Apple ID” site then you are all set to do what Apple recommends. Just visit Apple’s: “Create an iTunes App Store account without a credit card” and follow their simple instructions. You can do it via your iPad or in some cases with your computer. Using the iPad directly is probably easiest. You will have an option to select “None” as a credit card option. Done. Easy. No hassle.

In fact Apple states quite clearly in their support document referenced above:

“In order to create an account without a credit card, you must make sure you are in the App Store, not the iTunes Store.”

I would add to that and say also don’t create an Apple ID first but use the App Store!

My Story … read the manual (or use Google search or Apple search first!)
(You can skip this part if you want to get straight to answers I used.)

But what if you did not do a Google search or search Apple’s support for how to do this correctly the first time and ended up creating an account but now find yourself being asked for a credit card and no option for ‘None’?

This is what happened to me – I thought I would be ‘smart’ and just go straight to the Apple ID site and create my teen’s id there and we would be all set! I of course didn’t think I needed to look up how else to do this (egg on my face as my teen watched me go through this) and thought it made sense because it seemed that Apple is very pro about getting people to get a full-on Apple ID … so why not just go straight to that place first? Unfortunately when it came time to login to the App Store for an App on the iPad using newly created teen’s Apple ID I found new I was stuck in a no-win situation of being asked to provide a credit card. There was no ‘None’ option. Hopefully this will change and this article will then become obsolete. Apple must know about this and I can only assume they are working to make this work better.

Yes … I did read recommendations on the web from people that said something to the effect to ‘Just create a new / different App Store account’. Maybe I’m missing something here but my teen has only one email they care about and even with that, they rarely check since all they do is ‘text’ or use Facebook these days. So my attempt to create a second or different account failed because Apple’s id system recognized there was now already an account in their system using that same email.

Perhaps there’s another way but with my teen and I both getting a bit frustrated (as well as sensing the ‘I could have done it better and faster’ factor from my teen) I did the following and it worked out GREAT …

My Solution (at least the one I used) get my stuck ‘teens’ account beyond the ‘credit card’ required state

Short story is that I did give Apple my credit card info but then immediately used an Apple supplied method to then remove my credit card (actually able to select ‘None’)! I then logged out and back in to double check there was no credit card associated with my teen’s account. Bingo! Worked!

I fired up my iPad. Made sure I was logged out (see number 1 above). Then went to choose a free app (any will do) for my teen (or whomever’s account is in the state of having been created but is being forced to supply a credit card to proceed). When I ‘touched’ to ‘install’ the free app I logged in with my teen’s account. I was prompted as usual to agree to terms and conditions and eventually asked for a credit card. I did provide my credit card information and clicked the rest of the way through and Apple was happy. The free app installed. The account was now good to go and working. However I don’t want my credit card on that account so now to remove the credit card.

Solution to remove credit card from Apple Store account

I fired up iTunes on my computer. I logged out of my own iTunes store account and then used my teen’s id to login to the iTunes store. Once logged in I clicked on ‘Store’ > ‘View My Account’ menus in iTunes. On the ‘Account Information’ screen I clicked on ‘Edit Payment Information’ and there appeared the Holy Grail … the ‘None’ option! iTunes remove credit card from account

I clicked on ‘None’, confirmed the change, logged out and for double measure logged back in to confirm there was no credit card information associated with the account.

If memory serves me correctly I think I may have confirmed this with the Apple ID service as well … but I’m a little hazy if I did that or not or if such information even shows up via the Apple ID service. I was just pleased to have accomplished my goal.

The Test

My teen then was able to use the iPad, login using their account at the App Store and get the free app they wanted. [I suppose a good test for me to add if I want to be triple safe on this is to try and purchase a .99 song or app while they are logged in and see it fail. On my to-do list!]

Phew! Crisis averted, problem solved! Next time RTFM (Read The Friendly Manual) like I usually do in the first place! Or these days use Google search which I do even more!

About David Ingalls

Chief computer guru at DavidIngallsOnline.com and Ingalls Computer Services (ingallscomputerservices.com).
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5 Responses to Creating an Apple iPad App Store account for your children without a credit card

  1. Teilah geary says:

    Hi can you set this App Store account for me

  2. Chenda says:

    Help creat new app store for me

  3. Susanne says:

    thx!

  4. John Santangelo says:

    David, You are awesome. After getting stuck setting up an apple id for my daughter with her new touch, I followed your instructions and got her setup with no associated credit card.

    There are a lot of hoops to jump through, but I got it in the end with your help.

    Thanks,

    John

  5. Colton Cooper says:

    I have been trying to find that out all week.