Set up billing with $300 Google credits to explore Terra

Allie Hajian

If you've never logged into the Google Cloud console to set up billing, you are eligible for $300 in free Google Cloud credits you can use for working in Terra. Read on for step-by-step instructions for how to access the credits and FAQs about using the credits on the Terra platform. 

For more information about Google's free credits and Free Tier, see their documentation here.

What can you do in Terra with $300 in Google cloud credits?While it's unlikely to be enough to cover a real-life scientific analysis, $300 will pay for enough data storage and compute to test drive the platform. 

For example, you can run the Terra on GCP Quickstart tutorials for less than $1. Once you know the basics of storing and organizing data and running an analysis (batch workflows or interactive analyses in Jupyter notebooks, RStudio or Galaxy), you can try one of the Featured Workspaces. Each Featured Workspace includes downsampled data that can be analyzed for well under $20.  Many cost a few pennies. A few will run up to $17. See Costs of selected featured workspaces for more details.

Conditions for Google credits free trial eligibility

  • You haven't previously signed up for the free trial
  • You've never been a paying customer of Google Cloud, Google Maps Platform, or Firebase

If you're part of a broader organization that uses Google Cloud, your work email will most likely not be eligible for the $300 credits. 

You have 90 days to use your free credits After 90 days, your credits will expire and you will not be able to request more free credits using the same Google account.

Three steps to get $300 Google Cloud credits to use in Terra

Setting up billing directly allows you full control over your billing and is a good option if you are comfortable working in the Google Cloud console. You can use a personal credit card or bank account (and get reimbursed, if your work on Terra is grant-funded) or institutional credit card or other account.

If you have been using a third-party reseller, but want to set up your own Google Cloud Billing account, follow the directions below. 

Step 1. Set up Cloud Billing account and accept free credits

The first step is to set up a Google Cloud Billing account using your Terra user ID in the Google Cloud console (not in Terra).

1.1.  Go to the Google Cloud console at and sign in with your Terra user ID. If you haven't already set up a Google Cloud Billing account, you'll be greeted with an invitation to activate your free trial in the banner at the top of the page: 

Screenshot of Google cloud console page with activate button to start free credits (at right) highlighted

1.2. Click the activate button and follow the instructions to sign up for a Cloud Billing account and get your credits.

Why does Google ask for additional information?To reduce fraud, you'll need to confirm the information you provide with a one-time verification sent to a cell phone and provide a credit card, PayPal account, or bank account. This confirms that you're a person (not a bot!).

Google will notify you before your credits expire and will not charge your credit card without your direct permission. 

What to expect

You can verify the Google Cloud Billing account in the Billing page. You should see My Billing Account in the top left. That's your new Google Cloud Billing account! 

Screenshot of Billing page on GCP console with My Billing Account highlighted

Google will create a Google project, My First Project, funded by your free credits, which you can see in the My Projects tab.

Screenshot of Billing page on GCP console with My First Project (under My Projects tab) highlighted

Step 2. Link Terra to your Cloud Billing account on Google

This step lets Terra and Google communicate about cost and billing. You will do this on the GCP console (separate from Terra). 

2.1. When logged into Google Chrome with your Terra user ID, go to the Google Cloud Console Billing page.

2.2. Select the checkbox beside the Google Cloud Billing account you will use for Terra. For free trial credits, this will be My Billing Account.

2.3. On the right panel, below the billing account's name, select the Add Principal button.

2.4. Add under New Principal in the form.

2.5. In the dropdown, select the Billing role Billing Account User.

2.6. Don't forget the Save button!

Screen capture demonstrating how to add Terra as a billing account user on your Google Cloud billing account.

Note: "" will appear in the list as "" This is expected!

Step 3. Create a Terra Billing project

Once you've accepted your Google credits and linked your Google Cloud Billing account to Terra, you'll be able to create a Terra Billing project. You need a Terra Billing project to create a workspace to work in Terra. These Billing projects are internal to Terra, and act as a passthrough for Google Cloud costs. 

3.1. Log into, then click on the main navigation menu (three horizontal lines at the top left of any page). 

3.2. Click on your name and then go to your Billing page.

3.3. Click on the + Create button at the top left. 
Screenshot of Billing page with Create Terra billing project button at top highlighted

3.4. Select GCP Billing Project.

3.5. If prompted, sign in with your Google credentials.

3.6. Name your Billing project.

3.7. Select My Billing Account from the dropdown ("My Billing Account" is the default name for your GCP free credits, and it should be the only option) and click the Create button.

Next - Hands-on practice in a showcase workspace template 

Once you have a Terra Billing project, you're ready to try your own analysis on the Terra platform. To see how to make your own copy of a workspace, see this video.

Quickstart tutorial workspaces

Dive in with hands-on practice working with data tables, workflows, and notebooks in the Quickstart workspaces. Each quickstart tutorial takes about half an hour to complete and costs less than $1. 

Explore template use-cases

See if one of these curated featured workspaces is close to your use case. Each one includes extensive documentation as well as sample data that can be run as-is. To make a template you can practice in, make your own copy by cloning the workspace under your new Terra Billing project.

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  • Comment author
    Ro Fe
    • Edited


    perhaps you can help if google is not too keen doing it...

    When I try to setup a free trial account it fails with billing account error.

    Google says in UK it accepts Paypal as payment source linked to a billing account however it fails endlessly. It fails on the google end as after the unsuccessful link attempt i need to clear google from my Paypal account.

    When I try to contact google, a chat bot says "You are not administrator of any billing account", what is not surprise because this is what is failing and this is why I try to reach google.

    Another way to contact google is to complete a form, however it has a mandatory field "billing account". How can i provide a billing account identifier when it fails before i get one?

    It is a catch22.

    I am not happy to upload my bank card, identity card, etc to google, so would stay with Paypal "payment" method. 

    Looking forward to your response.



  • Comment author
    Allie Cliffe
    • Edited

    I hear your frustration with the process, @ro fey.  As of July 1, 2022, PayPal is not supported for payments. See Google's documentation: Unsupported payment methods for more information. 


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