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How to use a Google Play gift card

Google Play Gift Card with S20
Google Play Gift Card with S20 (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

Google Play is not only the largest app store in the world but also a music subscription service, a bookstore, and a video store. This makes Google Play gift cards an excellent gift, but that's not the limit of their use. Since Google restricts underage user accounts from Google Play, Google Play gift cards might be the only way for your munchkins to purchase content without giving them access to your credit card via Family Library. Here's everything you need to know about using a Google Play gift card.

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How to redeem a Google Play gift card

  1. Open the Google Play Store app that came pre-installed on your phone — or the Google Play website (opens in new tab) on a computer.
  2. Tap your profile picture in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap Payments & subscriptions.
  4. Tap Redeem gift code.Source: Android Central

  1. If you have a physical gift card, you can tap Scan gift card to take a picture of the revealed code rather than having to peck it in yourself.
  2. Tap Redeem.
  3. Tap Confirm to confirm the account you want to redeem the gift card to.
  4. Tap Not now to exit the redemption menu.Source: Android Central

Once the gift card has been redeemed, you can use it to buy apps, games, movies, TV shows, and books. As a reminder, the Google Play Store is different from the Google Store: Google Play gift cards cannot be used to purchase physical products from the Google Store.

Where to buy your Google Play gift card

This is going to sound weird, but just about the only retailer you can't get Google Play gift cards from is Google Play itself. Google Play does not sell gift cards on its website or app anymore, but don't you worry! There are dozens of retailers that sell Google Play gift cards, and whether you live in the U.S., U.K., Canada, or elsewhere in the world, finding where to buy Google Play gift cards is a lot simpler than you'd think.

Whether you give — or receive — a digital or physical gift card, redemption is the same, but some people like giving physical cards because you can't wrap an email. Personally, I like digital gift cards because you just copy-paste the redeem code rather than having to type it in. Digital cards are also great if your kid needs to buy something right now and you don't feel like driving 10 miles to the store.

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.