At a time when small businesses may have trouble getting access to credit, Google is partnering with banks in the U.S. and U.K. to offer credit cards that can only be used to buy AdWords advertising.
The company has been piloting the AdWords Business Credit program since July in the U.S. and says 1400 small businesses are already signed up. In a survey conducted after the pilot launched, Google said 74% of participants were using the MasterCard as their primary method of paying for AdWords.
In the UK, where Google is partnering with Barclayscard, the card will have a variable 11.9% APR Representative. In the U.S., where Comenity Capital Bank is the partner, rates will range from 8.99% to 18.99%, depending on creditworthiness. Neither card will have annual fees, and Google says the credit limit will be “ample.”
Rather than allowing AdWords customers to apply for the card, Google will be extending invitations via email to select advertisers, who will receive an application with a personalized ID.
Many consumer-facing retailers offer “store cards” that can be used only on their products, Google may be the first online advertising vendor that’s offering such a program for small businesses.
The company is opening up the program in the U.K. this week and will be extending invitations to additional U.S. businesses later this month.