Can You Use Family Sharing without Shared Payment? (iOS 17)

What to Know

  • While you can't share purchases without also sharing payment methods, there are workarounds.
  • Instead, you can add funds to your Apple ID which will be used before your card is charged.
  • Alternatively, family members can buy Gift Cards to add money to their personal Apple IDs.

Wondering how to use Family Sharing without a shared payment method? If you don't want to 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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Apple Family Share Purchases but Not Payment

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, this also means the Family Organizer's payment method will be used any time any user in the family makes a purchase. 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.

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. Even with the latest version of iOS, however, this has yet to change. There are solutions to work around this problem, though, and we'll discuss each one below.

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If it doesn't seem like it's worth the trouble and you'd like to learn how to turn off purchase sharing completely, check our guide on enabling Family Sharing to find the correct settings and disable the Purchase Sharing option. In this case, you'll still be able to share subscriptions but individual purchases will no longer be shared. For more tips on managing your Apple ID accounts and services, be sure to sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

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

If you're wondering how to add a payment method to your Apple ID with Family Sharing, and you're a member on an Apple Family Sharing account, you can still add funds to your own account. These funds 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 or iPad:

  1. Adding money to your Apple ID account balance is easy. First, open the Settings app, and tap the box with your Apple ID at the very top of the screen.

    Settings with Apple ID option marked.
  2. Tap the Media & Purchases option to open a small menu at the bottom of the screen.

    Settings app in Apple ID screen with Media & Purchases marked.
  3. Tap View Account.

    Media & Purchases menu with View Account option marked..
  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 Family Sharing members' purchases as well as your own purchases, so this method may not apply to you, but it can be helpful to share this method with family members on your account!

Pro Tip: You can now get an Apple credit card to share with your family members. The new Apple Card Family features offer a way to share funds and grow credit together with up to six people, including minors.

Use Gift Cards Instead of the Family Payment Method

While you can't use Family Sharing without a shared payment method, you can use gift cards to get around this restriction.


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 to 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.

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!


  • 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.
  • Can I use my own payment method with Family Sharing? Unfortunately, sharing purchases automatically makes the Family Organizer's payment method the primary form of payment for all Family members.
  • Why am I not receiving Ask to Buy requests? If you are not receiving Ask to Buy requests, double check that you have the correctly set up purchase approval in the Family Sharing settings.
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Author Details

Erin MacPherson's picture

Author Details

Erin MacPherson

Erin 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.