Google Inc is offering its clients a credit line by introducing a credit card for its advertising customers in order to trump the competition in the online ad marketplace.

Google is offering the card to select U.S. clients with a competitive interest rate, ample credit line and no annual fee. The card can only be used to buy search advertising on Google, the world’s No.1 Internet search advertising network.

The AdWords Business credit card is another Google first; it could enable marketers to spend more on its search ads.

Google, said the credit card was designed to help small and medium-sized businesses that advertise on Google who often do not have the budgets to support ad campaigns ahead of a heavy sales seasons and holidays such as Valentine’s day or Halloween.

Many small businesses are resource-constrained and are often cash flow-strapped yet still trying to grow a business.

Many consumer-oriented companies  have offered credit cards for years to drive purchases, inspire customer loyalty and track spending habits. Some retailers that own their own credit card operations also earn some interest income.

Google will email invitations offering the credit card to some of its customers on Wednesday. The card will initially be available as a “beta” test, available to select users.

Google makes 96 percent of its revenue from advertising, the majority of which comes from the small ads that appear alongside its search results, known as AdWords. Google’s AdWords business faces growing competition from a search alliance between Microsoft Corp and Yahoo Inc, as well as from social networks like Facebook, which is becomingvery popular with advertisers.

The AdWords card is a MasterCard that will be issued through the World Financial Capital Bank. The card’s 8.99 percent annual percentage rate is the ongoing rate, and not an introductory rate, Google said.

Google is keeping quiet on many of the other details, including the minimum and maximum credit lines available and the number of people to whom the card will be offered.

Google said the credit card will be offered to a “statistically significant” number of people as Google examines the results of how availability of the card affects customer spending behavior.

Even though availability will skew toward smaller businesses, Google will cast a wide enough net to can  see what resonates depending on historical monthly spend.

Google will evaluate customers’ creditworthiness through a combination of internal efforts and with the help of a financial partner.

The main motive for the card is to provide loans to Google customers in an economic environment in which getting credit can be tough. It’s based on customer need.

One popular perk missing from Google’s credit card is the ability to rack up airline miles or other rewards with purchases.


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