How can we improve Azure Signup and Billing?

allow setting spending limit on any account type

I cannot afford to have a runaway process or a mistake in the Azure portal to generate a huge bill for me.

Many of the special offers that give Azure credits come with a spending limit of $0.00 such that when your credit is used up, your account is temporarily disabled until your credits are refreshed.

However, you can only remove the spending limit. You cannot change it to a higher level.

Also, Pay as you Go accounts cannot have a spending limit either.

It would be extremely useful to be able to set a spending limit on Pay as you go or Dev Essentials and would make users far less afraid to turning on new services.

I know there is an spending alert that you can turn on (which has been in preview for a very very long time), but all that does is send an email.

That is just not sufficient. If that email is overlooked or goes into your spam folder then you can still end up with a giant bill.

This feature would be important for Personal accounts and larger businesses.

For example, I have personal Azure account linked to my personal credit card. I don't mind spending a limited amount on Azure each month but I can't afford to risk getting a multi-hundred or thousand dollar bill just because I clicked the wrong button.

369 votes
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      • Sam Smith commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is an especially serious issue with the Azure IoT Starter Kit, which involves setting up a Solution Accelerator that is marvelous, BUT: It generates 8 or 9 resources on Azure that are EXPENSIVE like hundreds of dollars a month! This all happens automatically, with no warning that cost is going through the roof. I am now stuck with a bill for hundreds of dollars for trying a starter kit! Azure IoT management please look into this and help others interested in IoT avoid this predicament!!

      • Steve Harrison commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I agree 100% with the original poster. As a developer doing personal R&D to evaluate Azure, I don't mind spending a small amount, but I need to set caps to account for coding errors or unauthorized use (e.g. exposed keys). Microsoft should go out of their way to support developers, as they are the ones who affect the decision-making of large enterprises. I would love to continue researching Azure services, but it's too risky.

      • Stan Vickers commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        So yes. Let me add my voice to the "This is crazy" crowd. This is something very basic. Who would want to give Microsoft a blank check and then have to go to the portal every day to see if they used it?

      • Antonio Rodriguez commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I made one of those mistakes... $2,500 USD over 2 months for an unused staging environment... trying to get support to help me out is giving me so much anxiety and sadness!

        It feels like i'm speaking to robots!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        When you spend all the credit included with your subscription, Cloud Services that you deployed are removed from production and your Azure virtual machines are stopped and de-allocated. The data in your storage accounts and databases are available in a read-only manner.

      • Aviv commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Definitely needed, many startup dont use Azure because of that reason exactly

      • DanM commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is definitely needed. I had to cancel our subscription for our non-profit org because we can't allow the possibility of costs running away. Alerts is not good enough. A spending limit is a must when you have a personal or non-profit org credit card tied to the subscription.

      • Som commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        +3 : Not sure why MS is trying to make money with people learning. You gave 30 days trial and your product is changing every hour, I think some amount of trial money should be provided for each new feature every month till Azure is decommissioned. Current Azure trial is NOT satisfactory.

        But, MS does not care about these comments because, making money from other's mistake could be one of the business strategy.

      • Manuel Alves commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Azure is off-limits for me as long as Pay as you Go account subscriptions do not allow to set a spending limit.

        I love it and have used it with MSDN subscriptions but the possibility of a mistake/atack is a stopper for me.

      • wpqs commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Giving Cloud providers like Azure what amounts to a blank cheque is just not acceptable. The provision of billing alerts just doesn't address the issue. The problem is that things go wrong both intentionally and unintentionally, particularly in IT. For example, some junior employee accidently spins-up 100 servers running an expensive analysis service over-night, or some disgruntled contractor does the same on his last day. Saying that the CFO should provide control is impractical in a start-up or SME; he/she just doesn't have the time or necessary skills to operate Azure portal. Alternatively, what if Microsoft makes a mistake and over-charges your account by $1M claiming you used services that you hadn't? This is the sort of thing that a hacker would delight in doing and is entirely plausible in the world post Spectre / Meltdown. How would you go about disproving that?
        No, what we should demand is the ability to set a limit on monthly expenditure. Sure, send-off plenty of billing alerts when you're close to this limit. However, once the limit is reached your services are shut-down as for people with trial offers. This gives you surety that you won't get a bill you can't pay or haven't budgeted for. That must take precedence over keeping your service up and running. In the first case your company goes bankrupt and the second you just annoy some of your customers. The facility is clearly implemented in Azure, so please Microsoft switch it on and let me sleep at night!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I think it is an important feature. Especially if you want to test some services and don't get charged for hundreds of dollars.
        It would be nice to say e.g. 20$/Month, if you exceed you can extend manually (and may get charged a higher value) or the service shuts down and you have to wait one month. The basic-test limits you to 175$ (or may 200?) and shuts down if you use too much.

      • James McKee commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The fact that this is not offered and is the default setting for the "Cheap" MSDN account ties the hands of those developers.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Sadly I have decided to move away from Azure. I was using it as an individual developer to develop myself in new technologies and had a free account for years. I was happy with the services, but this billing **** forces me to close my account.
        First I was hit by a £1,000 GBP invoice about a year ago because I opened some links from an article presenting the new IOT features. I didn't actually used any of these features just enabled them accidentally. Fortunately I was refunded.
        Then free dabatase was discontinued. I wasn't happy but it's only around £4 per month so I would have paid it, but:
        -Is not possible to use prepaid cards.
        -Is not possible to use debit cards, e.g. one I don't use and has a very low balance. A credit card is required according to Azure support.
        -It is not possible to set a spending limit.
        -It is not possible to pay on an ad-hoc basis.
        I am not willing to share any payment details with Azure where they can charge me unlimited amounts, so the only option I have left is to not use their services.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        i was surprised by my current azure bill and will not use the azure portal until this feature is implemented. Until now i use IBM Bluemix.

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