Today Amazon have launched their Coins virtual currency for the Kindle Fire. Kindle Fire owners in the US are able to get 500 coins (worth $5) for free and can then purchase addition coins for less than their value. The more coins you buy the greater the saving.
One of the features we had been hoping for is that Amazon Coins could be used to manage kids' spending on the Kindle Fire. Many parents want to give their kids some freedom to choose how to spend small amounts of money, but not the ability to run up large credit card bills on in-app purchases. So will Amazon Coins be able to help us with this issue?
At launch, Amazon coins use the same parental controls as other payment methods so they will require a password just as a credit card purchase would.
Also you can't transfer coins to another account or give them as a gift.
So basically the coins just give you a slight reduction in the cost of apps with an extra hoop to jump through by buying them in the first place. And they also allow Amazon to give coins as rewards and incentives, which will then encourage them to buy more content.
The coins can be used on Kindle Fire to buy apps and games and to make in-app purchases. What, not to buy books? I can't see any reference to being able to buy eBooks with them.
Of course this may just be the first step for Amazon coins.
So how would I like this virtual currency to operate for parents and kids?
I'd like to be able to configure things so that each of my children can only use coins from their profile and not a credit card.
I'd like to be able to set up a weekly or monthly coin allowance for my child and be able to set up separate controls for how those coins can be spent. For example, I might decide that I want to allow purchases under $1 per day for an app or $3 per day for a book to be made without a password. But if they want to go over that limit then they have to ask me to enter the password even if they have sufficient coins. I might want to prevent in-app purchases without the password while my kids are younger because they it can be confusing to know when they are spending real Amazon coins that cost money versus in game currency.
I'd be happy to purchase a larger quantity of coins to reduce the cost - remember you get a larger discount the more coins you purchase in one go. These coins would then be released into my child's profile automatically on a schedule.
I'd also like to have control over what they are able to buy (or even see) but that's a separate issue from the financial one. In fact it's one that really needs addressing first before I'd be willing to let my kids loose with Amazon Coins. I'd like to be able to specify that they can only purchase age-appropriate content.
I'm definitely interested to see where Amazon Coins is heading. I'd like to be able to offer my kids virtual pocket money.
Source: Amazon Coins
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