Last year, Google launched a new initiative designed to help small and medium-sized businesses pay for their AdWords campaigns.

The AdWords Business Credit credit card has since been adopted by 1,400 companies in the United States and, according to Google, 74% of them now say they use the Google credit card as their primary form of payment for AdWords spend.

Sensing an opportunity, Google has decided to launch AdWords Business Credit in the UK in partnership with Barclaycard. Starting today, the search giant is inviting select UK businesses to sign up for the MasterCard card, which has no annual fee and carries a variable interest rate of 11.9%.

The AdWords Business Credit card can only be used for AdWords purchases; attempts to use the card for other purchases will be met with decline. Google VP Brent Callinicos says that its new card is not expected to be a “profit center” but “you can assume we’re not doing this to lose money”.

According to Callinicos, Google recognized that certain AdWords customers “weren’t buying Adwords as much as they need” and this financial solution will hopefully rectify that.

Building closer relationships

With the launch of AdWords Business Credit in the UK, Google is just the latest tech giant seeking to forge closer relationships with key customers and partners. Amazon, for instance, last week announced a lending program for Amazon Marketplace vendors.

Such initiatives make sense: companies like Amazon and Google have become indispensable for so many of their customers and partners. And they have a significant amount of data about them. So Amazon can easily jump in to provide financing to vendors that alleviates their cash flow challenges. And Google can make sure AdWords customers have enough credit to purchase the advertising they rely on to drive sales.

There’s very little to lose, and a lot to gain, including beyond interest.