How it works

Create a free Lite account

Lite accounts don't have an expiration date, don't require a credit card and provide limited access to a catalog of more than 40 always-free services, including IBM Watson® APIs.

Get a USD 200 credit

When you upgrade to a Pay-As-You-Go account, you get access to the entire IBM Cloud catalog of over 350 products and a USD 200 credit, valid for 30 days, that can be applied to any service.

Get full access

With a Pay-As-You-Go account, you'll get access to the entire free tier including 50+ services and promotional discounts.

Some of the most popular IBM Cloud offerings

Offerings with no expiration and no credit card required

IBM Cloud product free trials after you upgrade to Pay-As-You-Go

Limited-time and limited-quantity offers on select services for pay-as-you-go accounts only. Current IBM employees excluded.

Frequently asked questions

What's available in a Lite account?

The following key features are available in a Lite account:

  • The account is free - no credit card required.
  • The account never expires.
  • You can use one org in one IBM Cloud region.
  • You receive email notifications about your account status and quota limits.
  • Your Cloud Foundry apps can access up to 256 MB of free, instantaneous runtime memory per month.
  • You can provision one instance of any service in the IBM Cloud catalog that has a Lite plan.
  • After 10 days of no development activity, your apps go to sleep. You can wake up your apps by continuing to work on them.
  • After 30 days of no development activity, your service instances with Lite plans are deleted.

What if I want to try services that aren't offered with a Lite account?

Upgrade to a Pay-As-You-Go account, and you can access the full IBM Cloud catalog, including all free plans. You pay only for billable services that you use, with no long-term contracts or commitments. When you upgrade to a Pay-As-You-Go account, you receive a USD 200 credit to help get you started.

You can create multiple resource groups to easily manage quota and view billing usage for a set of resources. Your charges are based on your use of IBM Cloud computing and services. If you use more than the free runtime and service allowances, you receive a monthly invoice that provides details about your resource charges.

How do I upgrade my account to Pay-as-You-Go?

With a Pay-As-You-Go account, you pay for only what you use beyond the free runtime and service allowances. After you upgrade, you can continue to use any instances that you created with your Lite account.

To upgrade to a Pay-As-You-Go account, complete the following steps.

  1. In the console, go to Manage > Account.
  2. Select Account settings, and click Add credit card.
  3. Enter your payment information, click Next, and submit your information.

After your payment information is processed, your account is upgraded and you can explore and access the full IBM Cloud catalog. For any billable services that you use beyond any free allowances, you receive a monthly invoice.

If you're upgrading to reactivate a deactivated account, your account might take a few days to be fully available. If your account continues to be in a pending state, see Why can't I upgrade my account? for help.

How do I apply promotional codes?

Perform the following steps in the console to apply promo codes to your account and services.

  1. Go to Manage > Billing and usage, and select Promotions.
  2. Enter your promo code, and click Apply.
  3. Review the promotion details, and click Apply. After the promo code is applied, a success message is displayed.

Explore more information on applying promo codes.

Where is my USD 200 credit?

To receive the USD 200 credit you first have to upgrade to a Pay-as-You-Go account. If you have already done this, go to the usage page in the IBM Cloud console to see the USD 200 credit. You can also go to the account settings page to view your active promotions. Your promotional credit of USD 200 is automatically applied, but might take a few hours to appear in your account. The credit is available for first-time Pay-As-You-Go accounts only, and cannot be used with third-party offerings.

Register for a free account

Learn with solution tutorials

Get a USD 200 credit when you upgrade