Select U.S. search advertisers are being offered the chance to sign up for a new Google AdWords Business credit card. Google sent out invites via email starting Wednesday for the card, which can only be used to buy AdWords advertising and features an 8.99 percent interest rate and no annual fees.
Claire Johnson, vice president of global online sales at Google, told Reuters the credit card is “designed to help small and medium-sized businesses that advertise on Google but who often don’t have the funds to support a heavy ad campaign ahead of a big sales season, such as Valentine’s Day or Halloween.” The AdWords MasterCard will be issued through World Financial Capital Bank.
Minimum and maximum credit lines will vary by the cardholder, and Google didn’t reveal the number of people who will be offered the credit line. Although Google will likely rack up even more money from interest on balances, Google says they’re offering this to customers who can’t get credit in this tough economic environment.
This is the first time Google will take on the role of lender, though it has $39 billion cash on hand. The AdWords Business credit card will be the equivalent of a department store credit line.
Laurie McCabe, partner at The SMB Group, told InformationWeek that she doesn’t see much value for occasional advertisers or those with minimal search budgets. “If I have an ability to rack up points and then get discounts as I purchase more AdWords, that would be a reason to get it,” McCabe said. “If they have a low interest rate, then it makes sense.”