Anyone can easily create a new AdWords account and use their popular tools like KeyWord Planner and Display Planner for free.
You just create an account, and only add billing information if you intend to use it to activate and display ads.
However, recently Google added an extra step at the beginning, of account creation, which if not bypassed, will place you into a billing loop. On top of that, you will be unable access any of the free tools, without adding credit card details.
How to Avoid The Billing Loop, for new AdWords Accounts
Here I will outline the steps to avoid so you don’t get stuck in a Billing Request loop, and only want to have an AdWords account for SEO or research purposes.
- Firstly you need a Google Account to sign up and access AdWords for the first time. Let’s presume you have that already, if you have a Gmail account.
- Go to http://adwords.google.com and sign in with your Google account details.
- You will see now a screen like the one below.
- If you want, and are able, to add your credit card details immediately after sign-up, then scroll down to the blue “Continue” button and follow the steps.
- But if you want to bypass billing you must click on the “Skip the guided setup.” link at the top of the page.
What Happens if I click Continue?
If you choose to press the blue “continue” button, you will not be able to access the Keyword Planner tool, or the Display planner tool, or any other part of your account, until you add billing information i.e. credit card details.
You can not reverse the steps and you will be stuck in that limbo, until you add payment information, as shown in the screengrab below.
All you can do is logout. Even if you login again you will be returned to this stage, and that Google Account you associated with AdWords, cannot be used anymore for free access.
My educated guess on why Google added in this annoying step, is to try and ensure that as many payment solutions are associated with AdWords accounts as possible. Up until now, so many Web and Marketing professionals only use AdWords to access the Keyword Planner, for SEO and keyword research. I don’t know exact percentages, but based on my own account activity, I have several I use for FREE, and just 1 that has a credit card attached.
I’m sure Google will say this is all in the best interests of it’s users, but not allowing them to get out of this billing loop and start over is just plain irritating and a blocker to genuine customers who want to just trial the tool, before committing a credit card.
Bear in mind, adding a credit card, does not mean you will be charged anything. That only happens if you place a live advert on Google or it’s network.
You cannot unlink a credit card afterwards – at least 1 payment type must be associated with your account, after you add it for the first time. And they still don’t accept PayPal as a payment method.
If you want to disable or deactivate an AdWords account at any time, you cannot do it, whilst stuck in a billing loop. You must either add billing info or “skip the guided setup”, as recommended above.
Unlike other Google accounts, you cannot remove an AdWords account from your Google Dashboard page.
My advice is to always choose the ”skip the guided setup” option at the beginning, so that you will be the one to decide if you add a payment method, not Google.
I hope you found this article useful. Some other articles I found online that are related are as follows:
How to Use AdWords for SEO
The Real Reason AdWords isn’t working for some small businesses