Show Them The Money: How Do Credit Card Charges Work for Google, Amazon, Instagram and Facebook Ads?

January 28, 2020 Dana Driskill

Show Them The Money: How Do Credit Card Charges Work for Google, Amazon, Instagram and Facebook Ads?

There’s no denying it: digital advertising payments can be confusing. As we know, and you might too, every advertising platform handles billing a bit differently. The first important thing to note is that being charged by your advertising platform and being billed by them are two different things. You will be charged whenever you incur a cost, but you may not have to pay it right away (meaning you may be billed for it at a later date or time). Keeping up with all of the payment methods and billing thresholds on Amazon, Google, and Facebook/Instagram can be hard, but we’re here to help! Here’s when you’ll be billed for advertising spend on some of the top digital advertising platforms.

When Does Amazon Charge You For Ads?

When it comes to paying Amazon for advertising spend, the first thing to note is that advertising payment, by default, is set to be pulled from your selling account balance. If you lack the necessary funds in your selling account balance to pay your advertising payment then your registered credit card will be charged. Not a fan of your advertising payment being pulled from your selling account balance? You can change your default advertising payment method to a credit card if that’s a better system for you. To change your Amazon advertising payment method to a credit card, simply visit your Seller Central page. Next, tap “Settings” in the top right corner and then select “Charge Methods for Advertising”. Finally, toggle from “Seller Account Method” to “Credit Card Method”.

So now that we know how you’ll pay for your advertising on Amazon, let’s talk about when you’ll be billed. The first thing to know is that Amazon will charge you on a pay-per-click model, which means that you pay based on the number of clicks on your ads (as opposed to other advertising channels that might charge you based on the number of times your ads are seen). Another important thing to note is Amazon will gradually increase your advertising billing threshold based on a system that they call a “credit ladder” until you reach the maximum threshold, which is $500. It works like this: you will be charged after the first $1.00 of clicks occur, which essentially allows Amazon to validate your payment information. As your ads continue to accrue clicks and you successfully pay the advertising amount, the credit limit increases to the next level in the credit ladder, which is  $50, $150, $200, $350, and the maximum of $500. Each time you reach a new level in the “credit ladder” and your credit limit changes, your account will be charged. You can also be charged when you have a balance due for the previous month. If this happens, then you’ll be charged on the 3rd of the month. So, if your account goes through more than 2 credit ladders in any month period, you can expect at least 2 credit card charges.

TL:DR: You’ll be billed when you hit your threshold, which might be more than once a month, or on the 3rd of the month if you have an outstanding balance from the previous month.

Learn more about this topic from Amazon. Click here.

When Does Google Charge You For Ads?

Google has different payment options available based on what Google product you’re utilizing, your billing country, currency, account type, and payment method. To see your options based on these factors, click here. For example, an AdWords campaign that’s in the US and is paid with US Dollars can be paid via a bank account, credit or debit card, or monthly invoicing. Expecting a charge every 15th of the month? That’s not what you’ll get with Google. Instead, Google will charge your account when you reach your threshold or 30 days after your last automatic charge, whichever comes first. Are you wondering what your payment threshold is? To find out, sign in to your Google Ads account and click the tools icon. Beneath “Billing” select “Billing Summary”. You’ll be navigated to the “Billing Summary” page where you can see your current balance. Under the grey progress bar, you’ll find your threshold and you’ll see the amount of threshold, displayed as a percent, that has been reached.

Would you like to change how often you’re charged by increasing your threshold? You have two options. The first is to make a manual payment to cover a longer period of time. This method will essentially pre-load your account with more funds than you’re billed for and it requires that you know the total amount you owe and your projected costs for the period of time you’d like to pre-pay for. Keep in mind, if you owe any costs at all, you’ll still be charged 30 days after your last automatic payment so if you’re avoiding being charged at every threshold level, you’ll need to issue a manual payment for more than you project to spend during that time period. The second option is to reach out to Google to increase your threshold. Asking Google to increase your threshold does not guarantee that it will be increased. Google will ensure that your account meets specific requirements for spending, which is reviewed by their finance team. This process can take up to 7 days. If you are approved for an increased threshold, you’ll be billed according to their standard billing model: 30 days after your last automatic charge or when you meet your threshold. If you’d like to increase your threshold with Google advertising, you can contact Google here.


TL;DR: You’ll be billed when you reach your threshold or 30 days after your last automatic charge, whatever happens first. 

When Does Facebook Charge You For Ads?

Facebook’s Ad Manager has two different payment options, which are more or less selected for you by Facebook based on your country and payment method. The two payment options available are automatic payments and manual payments. An automatic payment occurs when you reach your billing threshold. Automatic payments are used by those paying their ad account by credit card, debit card, or PayPal. If you are utilizing a manual payment method, you’ll pre-load your account with funds and Facebook will deduct from the total at least once per day. There are no billing thresholds with manual payments since you’re essentially preloading money to your account that you’ll use to pay for your ads. Based on your country, your payment methods might be limited. Here’s Facebook’s list of available payment types by country: click here.

Like Amazon and Google, Facebook will charge your automatic payment method after you reach your account threshold and/or when you reach your monthly bill date. Similar to Google’s “credit ladder,” your Facebook billing threshold will increase with each successful advertising payment until you have reached the final threshold amount. To check your account’s threshold, go to your “Payment Settings” in Ads Manager. In the “Next Bill” section, you’ll see an amount next to the “You’ll also get a bill when you spend” section.  The number listed is your billing threshold.

In the example above, the billing threshold is $25.

If you’d like to change your billing threshold, you can! First, go to the “Billing” section in Ads Manager. Then click “Payment Settings” and click “Manage”. You’ll then see a window with your current billing threshold as well as an option to change that threshold. You can then type in your desired threshold. Finally, click Change Threshold and you’re all set!


TL;DR: You’ll be charged when you reach your billing threshold, which might be multiple times per month. If you run ads after you’ve reached your billing threshold, you’ll receive a second bill on your bill date.

To learn more about facebook payments, click here.

When Does Instagram Charge You For Ads?

Facebook owns Instagram and utilizes the same advertising tools and payments. If you’re running your Instagram ads through Facebook’s Ads Manager, your payment set up process will be the same. The billing process is also the same if you’re creating a promotion within Facebook, such as a boosted post, that will also be published on your Facebook Page’s linked Instagram account. If you’re simply boosting a post within Instagram, your payment process might be a little different. When you’re running an ad within Instagram, and outside of Ad Manager, you can use a credit/debit card or PayPal. If you want to pay using a credit or debit card, you’ll input your payment information at the end of the ad creation process. If paying by PayPal is what you’re after, then you’ll be prompted to sign in to PayPal from the Instagram app. Note: your Instagram account must be converted to an Instagram business account in order to pay for promotions in the Instagram app.

If you’re using Ads Manager or creating a promotion within your Facebook Page, then you can expect the same threshold levels and billing windows that are in place for Facebook. If you’re paying for Instagram promotions separately in the app, your billing process is slightly different. After you submit your Instagram in-app promotion, you’ll need to first wait for the promotion to be approved. After your promotion is approved, you’ll be charged at the end of your promotion. You will set your promotion’s length during the promotion set-up process. Keep in mind that you might not be charged the total budget that you set when creating the promotion, but you’ll never be charged more.


TL;DR: If you’re using Ads Manager to create your Instagram ad then you’ll be charged when you reach your billing threshold, which might be multiple times per month. If you run ads after you’ve reached your billing threshold, you’ll receive a second bill on your bill date. If you’re using Instagram’s in-app promotion tools, then you can expect to be charged after your promotion is completed. 

You can learn more about Instagram’s payment options here and here.