October 25, 2021 By Rohit Badlaney 3 min read

Cloud security is critical, especially when it comes to businesses operating in regulated industries. 

At IBM Cloud, our focus is to provide the most secure public cloud. That’s why we will begin verifying user identities and securing accounts through credit card verification when creating new accounts. Don’t worry, we won’t charge you for signing up, and you can still try IBM Cloud for free.

Requiring a credit card is an important step in identity verification and fraud prevention that aligns with IBM’s overall strategic direction to ensure security and compliance in the cloud. IBM Cloud compliance is powered by services and an underlying platform built on best-in-industry security standards, including GDPR, HIPAA, ISO 9001, ISO 27001, ISO 27017, ISO 27018, PCI, SOC2 and others. Our goal is to provide the best possible experience for you as an IBM Cloud user, with security and compliance integrated into every phase of your cloud journey. 

What’s changing?

We’ve made an update for new users creating IBM Cloud accounts that we will release incrementally starting 25 October 2021. Users that create an IBM Cloud account will start being asked to add credit card information when registering. By providing this information, you are verifying your identity and securing your account:

This means that as this update is released, no new Lite accounts will be able to be created. We aren’t changing the goal of enabling our new users to try us out for free; we are simply integrating another layer of security in your account. 

After you register, you are equipped with a Pay-As-You-Go account, and you can access the full IBM Cloud catalog, including all Free and Lite plans. You receive a $200 credit to help get you started, which can be used on IBM Cloud products in your first 30 days. You pay only for billable services that you use, with no long-term contracts or commitments. 

Can I still try IBM Cloud for free?

Anyone can try out IBM Cloud for free. Just because you entered a credit card to enhance the security of your account doesn’t mean that you are automatically charged any fees or usage. After you register, you can browse the IBM Cloud catalog for all Lite and Free service plans that can be used at no cost:

Then, when you’re ready to start using a paid service plan, you can estimate what your costs might be before you choose to start using any plan that will bill usage to your account.  You can also set up spending notifications to get notified when your account or a particular service reaches a specific spending threshold.

What does this mean if I already have an IBM Cloud Lite or Trial account?

Nothing! If you already have a Lite or Trial account, there is no change at this time. You will be able to continue using IBM Cloud as you always have. However, we do encourage you to upgrade to a Pay-As-You-Go account by adding your credit card information. This way, you can gain access to all free service plans in the catalog.

What if I’m hosting a workshop and the participants don’t want to enter a credit card?

Some workshop owners have used Lite accounts for hosting events in the past. We will now facilitate these types of events by permitting the event owners to create an enterprise account to which users can be added and managed. As the owner of the enterprise account, you have already added a credit card, so invited users aren’t required to add one to create additional accounts within the enterprise. This permits the program to use all services within IBM Cloud or direct participants to filter the catalog for all Free and Lite plans that can be used at no cost for the event’s duration.

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