Family Sharing & Payments - Where does money come from?

Okay…I’m in a “family” with my girlfriend. She occasionally buys things, and we buy gift cards to top up her account sometimes.

But recently I discovered that my Apple Card is tied to her account as well. And today she just subbed to an app with a $70/year subscription.

She has / had $10 on a gift card on her account. She doesn’t have a credit card on her own account. Neither she nor I have seen any notification of the subscription yet.

Given that she’s on my account as an adult family member, my questions…

  • Does my Apple Card have to be on file for her to use?
  • If she adds her own payment methods, like a gift card, will those payment methods be drawn before my Apple Card?
  • Is my Apple Card only usable for App Store and Music type stuff? Or can she use it for Apple Pay and the whole nine yards?
  • If my card has to be on file, is there any way for Apple to “ask if it’s okay” before she purchases things beyond her gift card balance?

Not really concerned about malicious activity on her part, but obviously I don’t want things goofed up in such a way that I’m getting billed for things that she’s not trying to bill to me. :slight_smile:

From this KBase article:

Which payment method is charged for purchases that family members make?

When Purchase Sharing is turned on, everyone’s purchases bill to the family organizer’s payment method.* If there’s an issue with the payment method, the family organizer can update their payment method or add a new one.

If you’re the family organizer and you don’t want to share a payment method with your family, turn off purchase sharing. When purchase sharing is turned off, you can continue to share subscriptions like Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade. When Purchase Sharing is turned off, everyone must use their own payment method.

The asterisk above points to another document. I think the relevant portion of that doc is:

  • If you’re in a Family Sharing group, purchases that you make are charged to your personal Apple ID balance. If you don’t have enough Apple ID balance to pay for the purchase, the remainder is charged to the family organizer.
  • You can’t use your Apple ID balance to buy gifts or gift cards.
  • Some subscriptions might not be charged to your Apple ID balance.
1 Like

I suspect that this is Apple’s way of stopping people from abusing the Family capability, e.g. 5 adults want to buy a $50 app, so they join a family and buy it once. but they’re all now tied to someone’s credit or debit card. You’d have to be pretty trusting of the people you’re joined to, to put your 16 digit card number in.

This is quite a bargain

Wait until you get married :slight_smile:

… with children

1 Like

I family-share with my partner. We each have our own bank debit cards connected to Apple Pay and our contactless purchases are charged to our own cards. When she wants to buy an app I have to approve it from my device.

If it’s relevant , we don’t have Apple Card (not available in Australia).

This is because Apple Pay is per person, but the family organiser is responsible for App payments.