I got banned from Google Ads for using Apple Card

Companies like Google have waged war on virtual cards and left Apple Card users without service.

Last week I received my Apple Card and decided to use it on my Google Ads account for another project. Getting a little bit of daily cash back for my meager ad spend was attractive.

Within a couple of hours of updating my payment method my account had become suspended for suspicious payment activity.

My ad campaigns came to a grinding halt, and my website traffic (and sales) dried up. I’m an Ads Certified individual, and I’ve got almost a decade of experience running Google Ads (previously Google Adwords) campaigns. I’m not some huckster with a spam website.

So, when I received the suspension email, I thought it had to be some kind of issue with the system. I tried calling Google Ads support, but once I typed in my account number I wasn’t able to get through to anyone to help support.

I had the account set up through My Client Center, a portal for agencies that manage multiple clients. I was able to use this master account number to get through to a customer service representative based in the Philippines who informed me that it must be an issue with the billing verification and that it would be ‘absolutely unsuspended by end of day’. That unsuspension never came.

I engaged live chat, who told me to file an appeal, which I promptly did. After a few hours, I received this notice back:

Dear advertiser, Thanks for your continued patience during this process. We’ve confirmed that your account is in violation of our Google Ads policies. Since this decision is final, the account will not be reinstated. Please avoid creating additional Google Ads accounts, as they will be subjected to the same suspension. Our support team will not be able to give you any more specifics on the suspension. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation. Sincerely, Elizabeth

Speaking with live support again, they were unable to give me any details as to the status of my account. I offered to send billing documentation, account statements, and even set my primary payment method back to the previous card.

I’ve since worked the grapevine, asking friends to ask their account managers for additional information.

The billing department is a black box. I don’t have any information here, they’ve refused all requests. All I can say is that it’s likely that he was either using a virtual card or his identity was tied to a previously suspended account.

This came from a high level account manager for an agency friend. I’ve never had an Ads account suspended before, and I wasn’t using a virtual card, I was using my new Apple Card, which lay in front of me.

After doing a bit of research, I discovered that the number that is generated in the wallet app (the only way you can get your card number for the Apple Card) is, infact, a virtual card.

After repeated attempts to contact Google Ads support and explain my predicament, I’ve finally given up. Every request ends with receiving the same email as above, from Elizabeth.

I’m writing this to warn anyone else that intended to use the card online that you may experience… difficulties. And if you’re planning on using the Apple Card for anything important, think again.

Update: After several media outlets picked up this story, the account has been reactivated.