Last summer, Google tested out a new credit card for small businesses – the AdWords Business Credit Card, which could be used exclusively to purchase AdWords advertising. The credit cards, issued by Comenity Capital Bank and MasterCard, were a hit – 74 percent of survey respondents who participated in the pilot program now use AdWords Business Credit as their primary payment method when buying Google advertising.
In light of this success, Google is launching the AdWords Business Credit Card in the UK this month, issued by Barclays and still using the MasterCard processing network. Later this year, the program will expand further in the US, still issued by Comenity, and offering cardholders a variable rate of 8.99 percent to 18.99 percent, depending on consumer creditworthiness. In the UK, the Barclays rate for the AdWords credit card will be a variable 11.99 percent.
The AdWords credit card carries no annual fee in either the US or the UK, and Google says it will offer an “ample” line of credit, though no exact amount was given.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising Adds Up
AdWords are the little “pay-per-click” advertisements that pop up when you Google certain words or phrases, suggesting pages that might be of interest to you, and though they may remind some users of Big Brother, their Orwellian nature hasn’t stopped them from bringing billions of dollars of revenue to businesses worldwide.
AdWords advertising can cost upwards of $35 per word and many businesses spend thousands of dollars each month on the program. Google’s revenue comes almost exclusively from AdWords – 97 percent of their $33 billion 2010 revenue was from AdWords advertising.
More than 1,400 businesses participated in the pilot program for the AdWords credit card, from many different industries – everything from bat removal to footwear. The overwhelmingly positive response was encouraging to Google’s Brent Callinicos, who s said in a statement, “Small business owners are used to being pressed: for resources, for time, and especially for credit. Juggling expenses across different credit cards and managing seasonal business spikes and valleys doesn’t leave much room for other spending.”
Plenty of Options for Small Business Spending
Small businesses who don’t want a credit card they can only use to buy Google advertising might consider other products such as Capital One Sparks designed for start-ups and businesses of varying sizes, as well as business credit cards that offer reward programs that can be used toward business travel, office supply costs, and other everyday expenses.
The Google AdWords credit card should be widely available in the US by 2012, so businesses who are interested in it should watch for more news about its availability.