Accidental Purchases

Making it easy to accidentally spend money with no confirmation or ability to undo or refund the action.

Games like to make it easy to accidentally spend premium currency. They sometimes do this by making the purchase button big and easy to push. Additionally, it may not be immediately obvious that pushing the button spends your premium currency, and once you push it, there is often no confirmation screen and no ability to undo or refund the purchase. One accidental stray tap of the screen can irreversibly spend your money.

Sometimes games may go even further and introduce a popup button right where you normally tap to play the game. For example, there may be a blue button in the lower right corner that you normally press to start a level when you have enough energy to do so. But if you have run out of energy that blue button may turn into a green button that spends premium currency to refresh your energy and start the level. By placing this button where your muscle memory has conditioned you to tap, the game can trick you into wasting your money on items you didn't intend to purchase.

Another tactic used is the "Status Quo" or "Bad Default" effect. This is when the most expensive option is selected by default, or when you must opt-out instead of opt-in to purchasing something. By making the option to spend more money the default option, some people will accidentally spend more than they wanted to. In effect, the game is trying to sneak more expensive items into your shopping basket. Without an option to easily refund the purchase, players are often stuck having spent too much.

Spending more than you wanted to can can cause a snowball effect. If you have spent money on the game, you may feel that you have to "get your money's worth" by playing the game a lot. This in turn gets you more invested in the game and more likely to spend money again.


Mighty DOOM Mighty DOOM
"Some pop-ups can spawn while browsing."

Beatstar - Touch Your Music Beatstar - Touch Your Music
"Revives have no conformation button. Gem purchases often bring up a second dialog box containing the actual purchase button. (however that's not protected either.)"

Merge Mansion - Mystery Game Merge Mansion - Mystery Game
"It makes it incredibly easy to accidentally spend your in-game premium currency, with no way to cancel or undo a transaction"

Forge of Empires Forge of Empires
"possibility to save payment data, offering premium purchases with popups"

Merge Studio Merge Studio
"I would argue that this could be easy for children because of the pop ups but for anyone over the age of 15 you probably won’t"

Idle Cake Tycoon - Hamster Bakery Simulator Idle Cake Tycoon - Hamster Bakery Simulator
"there's various pop ups"

Bloons TD 5 Bloons TD 5
"Tower upgrades can be purchased for real money, which is an option presented alongside all other upgrade information during gameplay"

Sky: Children of the Light Sky: Children of the Light
"It only takes a few taps to buy something, especially if you have your card details saved. Do not let a child get their hands on this if the parent has bought something before; it only takes 2-3 taps."

Food Street - Restaurant Management & Food Game Food Street - Restaurant Management & Food Game
"When in crunch for events you may wind up spending gems"

Cat Game - The Cats Collector! Cat Game - The Cats Collector!
"Some buttons are placed over other buttons when pop ups are dismissed, which lead to the shop. Pop ups for purchasing packs with real money pop up with the “purchase button” over where you would normally tap to confirm the action you were actually trying to do."