iPad App StoreSource: iMore

What you need to know

  • A child spent $1,875 (£1,450) on her iPad.
  • The money was spent on Roblox in-app purchases.
  • She added her fingerprint to Touch ID to make them.

A child in Wales has managed to rack up $1,875 (£1,450) in credit card debt after buying in-app purchases in the Roblox game. But her parents say that she isn't to blame.

But according to a BBC report the child was able to make those purchases after she added her own fingerprint to Touch ID so she could make them without asking a parent first.

Katie Phillips' daughter reset security settings to accept her own fingerprint to make purchases.

The whole debacle comes after the unnamed child was able to buy in-app purchases ranging from £0.99 to £19.99 during a three-day Roblox spending binge. And while Barclaycard has confirmed that it will waive the interest on those purchases, the family will ultimately have to cough up.

A Barclaycard spokesperson said: "We are sorry that Ms Phillips has had cause to complain.

"Unfortunately, customers are liable for the transactions authorised using their Apple ID, and we are therefore unable to provide a refund.

"However, we empathise with Ms Phillips' situation, so we have made arrangements not to charge any interest on the transactions.

"Apple has a range of features to help parents control spending on their devices, such as the ability to switch off in-app purchases, and we would encourage all customers to make use of them."

The parent believes that either Apple or Barclaycard is at fault here, despite the fact that her daughter made the security changes herself.

"It was hard to be too angry with her because she didn't really know what she was doing and she didn't understand.

"We are really angry, but she is innocent. She said she thought it was free.

And the Barclaycard spokesperson is absolutely right. There are security measures in place to prevent this from happening. When Family Sharing is enabled a parent must authorize a purchase – and free downloads, too – themselves before it can be completed. This may not have been possible in this case if the child's parents don't use iPhones themselves, but the BBC story doesn't mention whether that is the case.

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It also doesn't mention how the child was able to add their own fingerprint to Touch ID. The iPad should have requested a passcode before allowing anyone to add a fingerprint, so presumably the child knew it.

Ultimately this is yet another example of a child outsmarting their parents because they didn't fully understand the technology at hand, or what it could be used for. Unfortunately for them, the lesson comes with a hefty $1,875 bill attached.

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