There’s almost nothing more enticing in the digital realm than that satisfying click on the ‘download’ button, especially when it comes to an app that promises to be free.
I mean, what could be more alluring than the prospect of diving into a beloved game or finally taking the plunge into that dating app you’ve been eyeing for quite some time?
However, the honeymoon phase with these seemingly cost-free apps is often short-lived, revealing a hidden cost – and it can, without a doubt, be a rather substantial one.
Before you find yourself lured into the seemingly enticing embrace of these free apps, it’s essential to pause, take a breath, and acquaint yourself with the intriguing concept of in-app purchases.
This moment of reflection might just be the saving grace that helps you navigate the potential pitfalls and steer clear of unnecessary credit card debt.
After all, the digital landscape, with its seemingly free offerings, can sometimes lead to unforeseen financial adventures.
What Are In-app Purchases?
In-app purchases can come with both free and paid apps, but they are usually more noticeable with ‘freemium’ apps, as they have come to be known.
This extra content is bought once you open an app and start using it. You first have to consent to purchasing these special features, as they aren’t obligatory.
Obviously, the paid content will differ based on the app. Once you accept the purchase, it will be charged to your linked Google Play or Apple ID account, depending on which one you are using.
This is precisely how many parents have ended up with a huge bill at the end of the month, as their kids have let themselves go wild with in-app purchases.
But while kids are the ones who can rejoice at these additions the most, they aren’t the only ones who find special app features to be tempting.
Examples Of In-app Purchases
Some of the most popular in-app additions come from one of the most popular categories for apps – games.
From buying characters and their outfits to upgrading their abilities, true gaming enthusiasts won’t mind spending some extra bucks in order to make their gaming sessions more exciting.
If you want to find another category that makes in-app purchases seem extra appealing, you should look no further than the world’s most popular dating app – Tinder.
Those users that opt for the Gold Subscription get to enjoy special features, such as getting to see whether a person has liked you before swiping left or right.
Some Of The Advantages Of These Additions…
There’s a good reason why in-app purchases exist, and that reason boils down to user experience and satisfaction.
Those gamers who don’t mind spending some extra money will jump at the opportunity to skip levels or buy in-game currency that will bring about a host of benefits.
This improved gaming or dating experience can be compared to the thrill that you get once you are handed free stuff (even though we know that, in this situation, they aren’t free.)
Take online gamblers as an example. Once they find out, especially when discovering the best casino bonuses in the UK by visiting the right website(s), they feel like their lucky streak has already commenced.
The safety that they come with is yet another advantage of in-app purchases. If you do decide to make a purchase and enrich your gaming experience, you will have some peace of mind knowing that your banking information will remain private.
Since app users are paying through established and trusted platforms, they won’t have to worry about data theft and security breaches.
However, while you will encounter safety in this department, there’s another one where this word will be met with some concerns.
…Some Cons That You Might Wish To Avoid
As previously mentioned, in-app purchases can come with too great of a price.
This can happen due to many different reasons, but it usually happens when you either let your kids play games on your phone or you find yourself dealing with some self-control issues.
The whole point of the entire online environment is to make everything easily accessible – at the click of a button, as they say.
In a matter of a few clicks, your child could purchase the latest premium version of a game or buy tokens without you even knowing it.
We guess you’ll find out once you get your monthly bank account statement.
Likewise, it’s important to mention that this hidden cost of free apps could very well have a negative effect on user experience, as it could get people frustrated.
What’s worse than being all hyped up about the newest (free) game that you have installed only to find out that you will have to spend money to get to the good stuff?
How To Battle The Hidden Cost Of Free Apps?
The good news is that you don’t have to fall victim to in-app purchases. In fact, you don’t even have to put yourself in temptation to do so.
All you have to do is check whether that free app you are about to install comes with in-app purchases, as not all apps will come with these additions.
To do so, all you have to do is visit the Google Play Store app and take a look at either the Price or Install button.
Once you spot the name of the game, you will be able to see ‘offers in-app purchases’ for those games that include special features and subscriptions.
Knowing what you are about to get yourself into will let you decide whether you want to install the app or keep searching for one that won’t come with hidden surprises.
The Bottom Line
With all that being said, you are the only one who can decide whether to give in to the temptation of in-app purchases and all the good stuff that they come with.
The important thing is to be aware of the hidden cost of free apps that come in the form of in-app purchases.
If you find that to be the price that you can pay, then go ahead and enjoy the premium experience that they also bring with them.
Just be careful if you aren’t the only one with access to your phone, as that’s how many horror stories regarding hidden costs have originated.