Why You Should NEVER Use AMEX with Google AdWords

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That’s right. You should never use American Express for your payment method for Google AdWords. While American Express (AMEX) is widely accepted as the credit card for businesses, it may be a bit overzealous at protecting card members from actively marketing online — specifically with Google. While I certainly respect AMEX for being zealous to protect its card members from fraudulent charges, time after time they reject legitimate charges from Google AdWords.

Not long ago, I posted a story about why you should never use the prepay payment option with Google. Ironically, this is a continuation of that same issue… but driven by an AMEX chargeback. For those of you that have never experienced a chargeback, it occurs when the credit card company reverses the payment. Chargebacks can negatively affect your ability to move to the invoicing option with Google — even though they may not be your fault as the card holder.

In one case, I have a client, an ad agency, that is trying to move to the invoicing option with Google AdWords. However, I was told today that the credit application was denied solely because there was a chargeback on the account. Additionally, for some reason, two months after the first chargeback that AMEX made, just last week, even though the account is now paused and its prepay funds depleted, AMEX made yet ANOTHER chargeback! My client called AMEX to have the chargeback reversed, thus giving Google the funds back. However, AMEX indicated that it was Google’s responsibility to charge the amount again. Google does not agree.

In another case, a client with the postpay option also had a chargeback. While the client consistently spent nearly $70,000/month with Google AdWords EVERY month, for some reason, AMEX thought one month that the charges must be fraudulent and created a chargeback. There was no clear reason why Google AdWords would have been a red flag charge to AMEX in this case.

So where does this leave advertisers? I’ll say that I’ve never had this problem with Visa or Mastercard. Ideally, just move to invoicing with Google AdWords if you can and avoid the whole situation!

Janet Driscoll Miller is the President and CEO of Search Mojo, a full-service search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising management agency.

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