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Do You Have to Have a Credit Card for iTunes?

written by: C.D. Crowder•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 2/12/2011

Though the most popular method of purchasing music and apps on iTunes is by credit card, the truth is, you do not have to have a credit card for iTunes. Learn how to make an iTunes account without a credit card or change your payment settings after creating an account.

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    Credit Card

    Your first and most obvious choice for paying for iTunes purchases requires you to store your credit card information in iTunes. When you make a purchase, the amount is automatically charged to the card on file. But what if you want to prevent being charged when you accidentally hit the “Buy” button? Do you have to have a credit card for iTunes? The answer is absolutely not.

    Many users see this as their only option since you are asked to enter your credit card information when setting up an iTunes account. However, in the small print, you have two other options. Both work well, especially if you don't want to use a credit card or if you don't have a credit card.

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    One of the most secure ways to pay for purchases online is PayPal. Millions of online retailers accept PayPal now. Instead of having to store or enter your personal information, such as credit card or bank account numbers, all you need to provide is log in to your PayPal account. As one of the largest online digital media sellers, iTunes is no exception.

    If you want to automatically make a purchase when you press Buy, but don't feel safe storing your credit card information, consider using PayPal. PayPal accounts are free to setup and if you use a personal account, there are no fees.

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    This option may sound confusing and I'll admit, it does require a little extra effort on your part when you make purchases. If you are a casual iTunes shopper or just enjoy the free downloads, you really have no need to store any type of payment information. Anytime you make a purchase, you'll be asked to enter your payment information. This information is not stored unless you give iTunes permission to do so.

    If you are afraid of other users accidentally purchasing media with your account, choosing None as your payment method is the best way to create an iTunes account without a credit card. This is the most secure method, but if you purchase media frequently, entering your information each time may become tedious.

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    How to Make an iTunes Account Without a Credit Card

    During the account creation, you will see other payment options listed within the credit card window. Choose either PayPal or None to continue the account creation process without entering your credit card information.

    If you've already set up your iTunes account, you can easily change your payment settings at any time. First, select the Store menu and choose View My Account. Enter your iTunes log in. Press Edit Payment Information beside Payment Information. Choose your payment method from the available options near the top of the page. The first four are credit card options, while the last two are PayPal and None. Press Done when you're finished.

    Payment Options 

    If you are afraid of going over budget on iTunes, you can also choose to use iTunes gift cards, which will limit how much you can spend at any given time. You can access gift card options through the Payment Information screen as well.

    You can get help on other iTunes settings and learn more about customizing your iTunes account through iTunes U.