Don’t Let Pokémon Go Get You Into Credit Trouble | Refresh Financial

Don’t Let Pokémon Go Get You Into Credit Trouble

Pokemon Go

If you live in a populated area, you’ve probably noticed the sudden influx of kids and teens trudging along like zombies, staring at their phones this past week. On Sunday afternoon, the game that is taking the world by storm was finally released in Canada. In the blink of an eye, Pokémon Go turned every sedentary, tech-absorbed Canadian kid into an adventurer, trainer and Pokémon hunter. Kids the world over have risen from the seats in front of their computers, their XBoxes, their iPhones, and gone, of all places, outside. They’re being rewarded in the most ingenious way, for walking. Yes, the newest fad for kids is walking.

Since its launch, Pokémon Go has been the fastest app in the iOS App Store to reach 10 million downloads globally. Every time the app is released in a new country, the influx of users send their servers down in flames. Having now soared past 30 million downloads, the app is generating $1.6 million in revenue daily… and that's just in the USA, alone!

So, what does this new fad mean for you and your kids? A lot of great things for starters. Your tech-obsessed kids might actually go outside and play eagerly. Provided they stay interested in the app, they’ll get a lot of exercise they previously may not have been getting. Parents who join in and play as well might also find they’re burning a few more calories daily than they did before.

But there is also potential cost involved. While the app itself is free, the addictive nature of the game play pressures players to buy upgrades, and it’s as simple as a couple of screen taps to do so. Each upgrade or refill is inexpensive all by itself, but wanton spending without seeing your cumulative total, can be pretty dangerous, especially since it’s usually making use of your credit card. $1.39 for 100 Pokécoins doesn’t seem like much, until little Timmy refills it for the 100th time. Then it’s $139 you owe, plus interest. And let me tell you, given free access to refill, little Timmy can burn through 100 refills in a couple of days.

So, how do you protect yourself from piling on the debt while still letting your kids enjoy the incredible benefits this app offers? Here are a few tips:

1. Make use of family sharing in iCloud, and select, “Ask to Buy” in your children’s accounts. That way, even when they’re nowhere near you, you are asked to approve all of their purchases through the App store. You can find out more about family sharing here: Apple Support

2. If your kids are bugging you to be able to buy a lot of Pokémon Go add-ons, encourage them to earn and save their money and buy App Store gift cards.

3. Get involved in the game with your kids, and make a point of getting them to Pokéstops when they run out of Pokéballs. Pokéballs are needed to catch Pokémon, and you can get a handful at each Pokéstop you visit. Your app will tell you where Pokéstops are, and they can be revisited for more Pokéballs after five minutes. So, keep little Timmy’s supply of Pokéballs topped up and he won’t have to spend.

Whatever you do, do not allow your kids to use your credit card through this app freely. Especially if you are struggling to improve your credit rating. They will, I promise you, rack up a bill that will shock you in no time. Certainly a little fun is not worth drowning in a deepening pit of debt. Besides, everything they need to play the game is free already, all they need to do is walk a little further. You and I both know, it’s not going to hurt our kids to walk more.

Do your kids play Pokémon Go? Have you tried it? What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

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