Google Cloud Platform – Billing concepts

How to run your first application on Kubernetes

GCP offers flexible ways to set up and manage billing for your resources. A billing account is how a user pays for the resources being consumed. A billing account is associated with a method of payment and access is established using Cloud IAM roles. For a resource to be deployed in a project, the project has to be associated with a billing account. More than one project can be associated with a billing account.

GCP offers two types of billing accounts:

  • Self-served: This type of billing account serves well for small deployments where the payment method is a debit/credit card or by using a bank account. You will be billed automatically and these types of accounts can be created at any time. Typically, a demo environment uses such accounts.
  • Invoiced: This type of account is where payments can be made by check and invoices are generated and mailed to the user. Invoiced billing requires you apply for eligibility by contacting Google support.

Costs incurred by a Google account are charged in two ways, monthly billing and threshold billing. In monthly billing, costs are charged on a monthly cycle. In threshold billing, you will be billed when your account has accrued a specific amount. For example, you can set the threshold billing to bill you when your bill reaches $1,000. Remember that if the threshold cost is reached within 30 days, then you will be billed immediately. If the threshold is not reached, you will be billed in 30 days.

Picking the right billing method depends on your use case. For predictable costs, monthly billing cycle is ideal. 

You can also create sub-accounts, which are linked to the master billing account. Projects can be linked to these sub-accounts, which can then be used to track the costs. Sub-accounts help in generating custom invoices for resellers or for charge-back purposes:

For all intents and purposes, a sub-account behaves the same as a master billing account. You can also use the cloud billing API to create sub-accounts on demand, associate them with proper roles, and link projects to them.

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