As with any aspect of Google’s AdWords program, billing within AdWords can be somewhat complicated and confusing for newer advertisers. In this post we’ll walk through some of the different AdWords billing options and billing features available for advertisers.
What Are My Billing Options for Paying for Google AdWords?
To customize your billing options you can simply navigate to the Billing Preferences screen under the Billing menu:
Or you may have to go to the Billing Settings screen, depending on which version of AdWords Billing your account is showing:
Regardless of what your interface looks like there are several specific options for payment:
Method of Pay: Postpay versus Prepay
You can set up billing either postpay or prepay. If you use postpay billing, you’ll accrue advertising costs and you’ll either be billed every 30 days or when your account reaches your billing threshold. Meanwhile if you select prepay, you pay for billing in advance of the advertising being generated, and when your balance runs out your ads are stopped. Unsurprisingly AdWords prefers you to use postpay so that your ads are never stopped, and for most advertisers it’s preferable to use campaign budgets to limit your spending and to use postpay billing so that you don’t have to continually update payment options. Once you’ve set up your account, there’s no way to manually adjust settings to switch to prepay billing.
Form of Payment: Credit, Debit or Bank Account
You can make payments with a credit or debit card, or a bank account, but direct debits from a bank account can be a bit more work to set up and can take additional time, as well.
You can also designate additional forms of payment as backup in case you have issues with your credit card, and of course you can always use AdWords promotional coupons  as a form of payment if you have some.
AdWords Billing Activity
Within the billing summary (or transaction history, depending on the version of the UI you’re seeing) you can see your transaction history and what you’re being billed, what your account is being credited, and where your balance has stood:
Ultimately there really aren’t a lot of difficult decisions to make around AdWords billing, but understanding some of the basic payment options and knowing where to go to drill down into how, specifically, you’re being charged can be very helpful for newer AdWords advertisers.