If you don’t want to read the backstory, you can skip straight to the answer if you prefer.
We had a client recently that came to us wanting help with Google Ads (formerly Adwords) . To cut a long story short, they previously paid a freelancer to set up and run their Google Ads advertising campaign and decided that they didn’t want to use him anymore.
The first issue they had was trying to change the “Primary Contact” shown in the “Primary Users” section within their Google Ads account. The problem was, the person they’d used had set themselves up as the primary contact and hadn’t added anyone else as an “Admin with all permissions” user.
Despite our new client being an Admin on their own Google Ads account, they were unable to delete/remove the freelancer because they were unable to add themselves as a user – There was simply no option to do this when they clicked on “Manage Payment Users”. For the record, they had already emailed him, asking him to add them as the new Primary Contact but he didn’t respond.
This sounds counterintuitive, right? You’re the main admin on your own Google Ads account, but you can’t add yourself as the primary contact/user under the Payment Users section. This means you’re unable to edit your “Payments Profile” if you need to.
I know, I know; it sounds crazy but that’s just the way it is with Google. The way they set up users and their corresponding roles and access levels can often be quite confusing.
Seeking help – Finding a solution
OK, so there surely must be an easy solution to this problem? Well, that’s what our new client assumed anyway. They searched the internet for “how to change primary user in google ads” and got the support.google.com domain as the top few results. They clicked, read some Google stuff… and were more confused. So, they then searched for “add new payment user to google ads” and got similar results. They were going around in circles and at the “pulling your hair out” stage so decided to ask us for help.
Confusing, obscure answers
I can completely sympathise with their plight. If truth be told, I also find many of Google’s answers very confusing and frustrating so I’ll often scroll past the top few Google-related results to find a third-party website that speaks in a language that I can actually understand and relate to.
You have to contact Google
That’s right, if you’re unable to add yourself as a new Payment User, you must contact Google directly and ask them to do it for you. If you’ve researched diligently, you’ll find out that there’s simply no other way of doing it yourself. In other words, there isn’t a way to add yourself as a primary user if you cannot get in touch with the existing one. The only way is to reach out to a member of Google’s support team instead. You can do that here. (Tip:: It helps if you’re already logged into Google in your browser with the same email address you use with Adwords)
If you followed the link, you’ll be confronted with a box inviting you to describe your issue. I suggest starting with something along the lines of “cannot add a new payment user” or “cannot replace primary contact” or something similar. Brace yourself because you’ll once again be offered a myriad of options (Resources to read) as you wind your way through the answer selection process. Stick with it and you’ll eventually be able to describe your issue and get an email sent to their support team.
If you don’t succeed and reach breaking point, you can try sending an email directly to them here. In either case, include your main Ads account number when you contact them.
Be aware, the responses can be a tad confusing too. First, you’ll receive an automated response opening a case for you and assigning it a number. This will be followed by something quite generic and along the lines of:
“I understand that you are concerned about creating a new payment profile for your Ads account”
This will be followed by more generic text relating to the implications of your request.
It’s important to stipulate in your reply that you specifically want to update the payment user only. This is because once you’ve done this, you can make all the changes you want – including changing the geographical/physical address of your business and removing the previous primary user.
Once the Google representative understands this, they will send you an authorisation template looking something like this:
I understand that you are concerned about updating the payment user on your Ads account xxxxxxxxxx (this should correspond to your main Google Ads account number).To give us one-time approval to make the changes, please use the below template.”
This will be followed by a series of options for you to “fill in the blanks” e.g.
- New contact name: ____________
- New contact email: ____________
and so on.
This can start to get confusing too as it’s not clear what they mean by some of this.
For example what does
“This authorization must come from either the primary contact OR a user with the same company domain….” and what is my “Google Ads ID:” -Is it my “Payments account ID” or existing “Payments profile ID”?
- Payments profile – Pur your company’s legal name
- Payment Profile ID: You can find this by clicking the spanner icon in the top bar when you’re lofgged into Google Ads. Then under “billing”, choose “settings”. Scroll down the page and you will see the “Payments Profile” section with your ID number in it. Use this number
- Contact name – Put your own name
- Contact email – Put your GMAIL address
- New contact phone – Preferably your own mobile number
- New user permission and email settings – Put Admin with all permissions, All payments email
- New User Primary Contact Yes or No – Put YES
- You may be invited to also fill in a section to remove the existing Primary User. You can fill this in too.
- This one is very important. You MUST send this authorisation template FROM your company’s domain name and NOT your Gmail account. i.e. send from . If you reply from your Gmail address, they won’t do it. They will simply send you another cryptic email asking you for the same info again.
However, if you do all of the above correctly, you should get email confirmation within 24 hours or so along with an email asking you to accept the invite the Google rep. has sent. This will add you as the Primary Contact in the Payment Users section. You’ll then see a pencil icon next to the fields you’re now able to edit. You’ll also be able to add and remove payment users too.
Now put the kettle on, breath a sigh of relief and go ahead and make the changes you want.
When we’re not being confused by Google help pages, we’re beavering away at our SEO consultancy agency in southeast UK