How to Share Purchases but Not Payment Methods in Family Sharing

With Apple Family Sharing, everyone's purchases go through one person's payment method. This can be a pain when adult family members share an account.

If you want to share eligible Family Sharing purchases but not have to ask the Family Organizer or be asked every time someone wants to buy something on the Apple Family Sharing account, there's a way to make funds available so that the Family Organizer's primary payment method doesn't have to be charged for each individual's purchases. 

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Individual Purchases on an Apple Family Sharing Account

Many Apple Family Sharing users enable Purchase Sharing so that eligible purchases made on the family account can be accessed by all members of the account. Unfortunately, with Family Sharing accounts it's not really possible to set up a separate allocation of funds for each family member to use for these purchases.

For an account where multiple adults share purchases, this means family members may feel they have to check with the Family Sharing organizer every time they make a purchase, which can get annoying and sometimes awkward when sharing accounts with multiple adults or households.

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With Apple being so keen on staying in touch with users' needs and habits, you'd think the company would have made these accounts more user-friendly in this way. Alas, not yet. There are solutions to work around this problem, though, and we'll discuss each one below.

Related: How to Use Family Sharing to Access Shared App & Music Purchases

Add Funds to Your Apple ID Instead of Using the Family Payment Method

If you're a member on an Apple Family Sharing account, you can still add funds to your own Apple ID and they will be used up first before payments for your purchases resume being charged to the organizer's primary payment method.

Here's how to add funds to your own Apple ID using your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  1. Open the iTunes Store app.

    Open the iTunes app
     
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap on your Apple ID.

    Scroll down to the bottom and tap your Apple ID
     
  3. Tap View Apple ID.

    Tap View Apple ID
     
  4. Sign in if prompted.

    Sign in as requested
     
  5. Tap Add Money to Account.

    Tap Add Money to Account
     
  6. Select a suggested amount or tap Other.

    Select a suggested amount or tap the Other button
     
  7. If you chose Other, enter an amount and then tap Next.

    Enter an Other amount and tap Next
     
  8. Confirm the purchase at the bottom of your screen, then tap Done.

    Confirm the purchase and tap Done
     
  9. A confirmation will appear showing your new balance.
  10. Tap Done to exit.

    You'll see a confirmation, Tap Done to exit.

Keep in mind that if you're the organizer, any balance on your own Apple ID will be used for your own purchases as well as Family Sharing members' purchases, so this method may not apply to you, but it can be helpful to share this method with family members on your account!

Use Gift Cards Instead of the Family Payment Method

Organizers

If you're the organizer and you're feeling generous, you can send family members gift cards that they can apply to their own accounts. These balances will be used first before purchases revert ot being charged to the Family Sharing primary payment method—your Apple ID balance or payment card.

Family Members

If you're a member on an Apple Family Sharing account, you can apply gift cards to your own Apple ID. These gift card balances will be used to make your purchases until your balance is exhausted. At that time, your purchases will go back to being charged to the Family Sharing organizer's payment method. For this reason, it's best to keep track of your balance.

Which Purchases Will Still Be Charged to the Primary Payment Method?

Some purchases will always be charged to the primary payment method on a Family Sharing account, such as gifts, gift cards, and certain subscriptions. Otherwise, purchases will be billed to your own account balance if you make them on your Apple ID.

The methods we've covered in this article tend to be the most useful ways to circumvent the headaches involved with managing a Family Sharing account with people in multiple households, or with otherwise independent family members. We're hoping that Apple makes this process much simpler in the near future!

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Author Details

Erin Smith's picture

Author Details

Erin Smith

Erin Smith is a Web Editor for iPhone Life and has been a writer, editor, and researcher for many years. She has a degree in communication with an emphasis on psychology and communication, and has spent many of her professional years as a coach in various business and specialty fields. Erin officially joined the ranks of iPhone and Apple users everywhere around nine years ago, and has since enjoyed the unique and customized feel of Apple technology and its many gadgets. When she’s not working, Erin and her son enjoy outdoor adventures, camping, and spending time with their eclectic collection of pets.