AWS Account Billing
About AWS Account Billing (Version 1.0)
« PreviousNext »
View the PDF for this guide.Go to the AWS Discussion Forum for this product.Go to the Kindle Store to download this guide in Kindle format.Did this page help you?  Yes | No |  Tell us about it...

Consolidated Billing

Important

AWS released a new Billing and Cost Management console in November 2013 that supersedes the Billing Portal. The AWS Account Billing guide also supersedes this guide. The Billing Portal is scheduled for deprecation and will no longer be supported after April 30, 2014.

Consolidated billing enables you to consolidate payment for multiple Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounts within your company by designating a single paying account. Consolidated Billing enables you to see a combined view of AWS charges incurred by all accounts, as well as obtain a detailed cost report for each of the individual AWS accounts associated with your paying account. Consolidated billing is offered at no additional charge.

Here's how it works:

Consolidated Billing Process

  1. You sign up for consolidated billing, which designates your account as a paying account. This enables your account to pay the charges of the other accounts, which we call linked accounts in this guide.

  2. You add accounts to the consolidated bill.

  3. Each month we charge you for all the accounts you added to the consolidated bill.

How consolidated billing works

The paying account is billed for all charges of the linked accounts. However, each linked account is completely independent in every other way (signing up for services, accessing resources, using AWS Premium Support, etc.). The paying account owner cannot access data belonging to the linked account owners (e.g., their files in Amazon S3). Each account owner uses their own AWS credentials to access their resources (e.g., their own AWS Secret Access Key).

Owners of paying accounts are advised to secure their accounts by using AWS Multi-Factor Authentication and a strong password. For more information, see Security for the Paying Account.

Benefits of Consolidated Billing

  • One Bill—You get one bill for multiple accounts.

  • Easy Tracking—You can easily track each account's charges and download the cost data in CSV format.

  • Combined Usage—If you have multiple accounts today, your charges might actually decrease because we combine usage from all the accounts to qualify you for volume pricing discounts (for more information, see Volume Discounts).

When to Use Consolidated Billing

This section will help you determine whether consolidated billing is appropriate for you.

You should use consolidated billing for any of the following scenarios:

  • You have multiple accounts today and want to get a single bill and track each account's charges (e.g., you might have multiple projects, each with its own AWS account).

  • You have multiple cost centers to track.

  • You've acquired a project or company that has its own existing AWS account and you want to consolidate it on the same bill with your other AWS accounts.

Consolidated billing is strictly an accounting and billing feature. It is not a method for controlling accounts, or provisioning resources for accounts. It doesn't change how the accounts function or how they are accessed. Consolidated billing, therefore, cannot be used for sharing computing resources between accounts.

In the future, AWS plans to provide additional functionality for user permissions and consolidating billing.

Using Consolidated Billing

This section describes the basics of how to use consolidated billing.

Signing Up

To sign up and make your account a paying account, go to the Consolidated Billing page and follow the instructions there.

Note

You only need to sign up the paying account for consolidated billing. You don't need to sign up any of the accounts that you want to add to your consolidated bill.

You must have a valid payment method on file with AWS. You can use any form of payment that AWS supports. You must also have a valid phone number on file with AWS in case we ever need to contact you. Verifying your phone number takes only a couple of minutes and involves receiving a phone call during the sign-up process and entering a PIN number using the phone keypad.

We recommend you secure your paying account by using AWS Multi-Factor Authentication and a strong password. For more information, see Security for the Paying Account.

Adding an Account to a Consolidated Bill

The following steps are performed by the owner of the paying account. Linked accounts cannot be linked to a paying account by the non-linked account owner. Only paying account owners can send the email requesting a link to the account.

To link an account to the consolidated bill, you need the email address of that account.

Important

You don't need to sign up linked accounts for consolidated billing. The owner of the paying account simply needs to send a request to the account owner from the Consolidated Bill page. If you accidentally signed a non-paying account up for consolidated billing, see Changing a Former Paying Account to a Linked Account. Once the account is converted back, you can then link it to a paying account.

To add an account

  1. From the Consolidated Billing page, click Send a Request. You will be prompted to enter the email addresses of owners of accounts you want to link to the paying account.

  2. AWS sends an email to the linked account owner.

  3. The linked account owner clicks a hyperlink in the email, logs in to the AWS web site when prompted, and accepts or denies the request.

If the linked account owner accepts the request, the linked account becomes part of the consolidated bill. You can add up to 20 linked accounts to the consolidated bill. If you need to add more, contact us at https://aws-portal.amazon.com/gp/aws/html-forms-controller/contactus/aws-account-and-billing.

Effective Date

When the linked account owner accepts your request to pay the charges for the account, you immediately become responsible for the linked account's charges going forward. If that happens somewhere in the middle of the month, you're billed only for the latter part of the month. The linked account owner is still billed for the first part of the month, as shown in the following diagram.

Who gets billed based on effective date

Billing and Account Activity

Each month, AWS charges the paying account owner, and not the owners of the linked accounts. The paying account's AWS Account Activity page shows the total usage and charges across all the accounts on the bill. That page is updated multiple times each day. Each day, we make a downloadable cost report available. For more information, see Detailed Reports.

Although the owners of the linked accounts aren't charged, they can still see their usage and charges by going to their AWS Account Activity pages. They can't view or obtain data for the paying account or any other linked accounts on the bill.

Note

For Consolidated Billing customers, AWS publishes detailed billing reports only to the payer account's Amazon S3 bucket. Linked accounts do not receive detailed reports.

Volume Discounts

For billing purposes, we treat all the accounts on the consolidated bill as if they were one account. Some services such as Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3 have volume pricing tiers across certain usage dimensions that give you lower prices when you use the service more. With consolidated billing, we combine the usage from all accounts to determine which volume pricing tiers to apply, giving you a lower overall price whenever possible. We then allocate each linked account a portion of the overall volume discount based on the account's usage.

The Account Activity page for each linked account displays an average tiered rate that is calculated across all the accounts on the consolidated bill. For example, let's say that Bob's consolidated bill includes both Bob's own account and Susan's account. Bob's account is the paying account, so he pays the charges for both himself and Susan.

As shown in the following figure, Bob uses 8 TB of data transfer out during the month, and Susan uses 4 TB (for a total of 12 TB used).

For the purposes of this example, AWS charges $0.17 per GB for the first 10 TB of data transfer out used, and $0.13 per GB for the next 40 TB used. This translates into $174.08 per TB for the first 10 TB, and $133.12 per TB for the next 40 TB (remember that 1 TB = 10244 bytes).

This means for the 12 TB total that Bob and Susan used, following is the total amount that Bob's paying account is charged: ($174.08 * 10 TB) + ($133.12 * 2 TB) = $1740.80 + $266.24 = $2007.04.

Volume discounts

The cost-per-unit of data transfer out for the month is therefore $2007.04 / 12 TB = $167.25 per TB. That is the average tiered rate shown on the Account Activity page for each linked account on the consolidated bill, and in the downloadable cost report.

Without the benefit of tiering across the entire consolidated bill, AWS would have charged Bob and Susan each $174.08 per TB for their usage, for a total of $2088.96.

Security for the Paying Account

Your paying account can pay the charges for and have information about multiple (or all) AWS accounts within your organization. Because the paying account has access to billing data for all linked accounts and sets payment methods, you should secure it. We recommend you use AWS multi-factor authentication (MFA). For more information, go to http://aws.amazon.com/mfa. We also recommend you use a strong password that is at least 8 characters long, with uppercase and lowercase letters, at least one number, and at least one special character. You can change your password from the AWS Security Credentials page.

Removing an Account from a Consolidated Bill

At any time, the paying account or linked account owner can end the relationship between the accounts. The account separation takes effect immediately and the linked account owner is billed for that account going forward. If the separation occurs somewhere in the middle of the month, the paying account owner is billed only for the earlier part of the month, and the linked account owner is billed for the latter part.

How the paying account owner removes the linked account

  1. From the Consolidated Billing page, the paying account owner searches for the linked account from the list of accounts on the consolidated bill.

  2. The paying account owner selects the account and clicks Remove from Bill.

How the linked account owner removes the linked account

  1. The linked account owner goes to the Payment Method page for the account and confirms that a valid credit card is on file with AWS.

  2. From the Payment Method page, the linked account owner clicks Remove your account from the Consolidated Bill.

Moving an Account to a Different Consolidated Bill

A linked account can move from one consolidated bill to another. Following is the overall process. In this example, Bob is the paying account owner, Susan is the linked account owner, and Vicky is the new paying account owner.

  1. Either Bob or Susan removes Susan's account from Bob's consolidated bill.

  2. Vicky sends a request to put Susan's account on her consolidated bill.

  3. Susan receives the request and accepts it.

  4. Susan's account becomes part of Vicky's consolidated bill.

After Susan's account is removed from Bob's consolidated bill, there might be a short period before Susan accepts Vicky's request. During the interim period, Susan is responsible for any charges she incurs (and so must have a valid payment method on file with AWS). Any charges she incurs during the interim period can't be charged to Vicky's account.

Changing a Former Paying Account to a Linked Account

A former paying account can become a linked account. You just need to make sure the paying account doesn't have any other accounts on its consolidated bill or any outstanding requests to invite other accounts.

To change a former paying account to a linked account

  1. Ensure the paying account has no other accounts on its consolidated bill (see Removing an Account from a Consolidated Bill).

  2. Cancel any pending requests to invite other accounts to be on the bill, which you can do from the Consolidated Billing page.

  3. When you receive the request to add your account to a consolidated bill, accept it.

Your account is added to the paying account's consolidated bill.

Other Things You Need to Know

There are a few other things to know about how consolidated billing works with other parts of AWS.

Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances

For billing purposes, consolidated billing treats all the accounts on the consolidated bill as one account. This means that all accounts on a consolidated bill can receive the hourly cost benefit of Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances purchased by any other account.

For example, Bob and Susan each have an account on Bob's consolidated bill. Susan has 5 Reserved Instances, and Bob has none. During one particular hour, Susan uses 3 instances and Bob uses 6, for a total of 9 instances used on Bob's consolidated bill. We bill 5 as Reserved Instances, and the remaining 4 as normal instances.

Let's say the Reserved Instances cost $0.02 per instance-hour. For these instances, we charge 5 x $0.02 = $0.10.

Let's say the normal Amazon EC2 rate is $0.10 per instance-hour. For the remaining 4 instances, we charge 4 x $0.10 = $0.40.

So, the total amount Bob is charged for the 9 instances is $0.10 + $0.40 = $0.50. If we hadn't applied the cost benefit of Susan's 5 Reserved Instances to the 9 instances on Bob's consolidated bill, he would have instead paid $0.64 total.

In terms of cost attribution, we attribute a dollar amount to Bob and Susan based on each person's usage. Susan used 3 of the 9 instances (one-third), and Bob used 6 (two-thirds). Therefore on the bill, one-third of the $0.50 is attributed to Susan, and the other two-thirds is attributed to Bob.

Amazon RDS Reserved DB Instances

For billing purposes, Amazon RDS Reserved DB Instances are treated in a manner similar to Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances. For example, let's use a scenario that's like the one described previously, where Bob and Susan each have an account on Bob's Consolidated Bill. Susan has 5 Reserved DB Instances, and Bob has none. During one particular hour, Susan uses 3 DB Instances and Bob uses 6, for a total of 9 DB Instances used on Bob's consolidated bill. We bill 5 as Reserved DB Instances, and the remaining 4 as On-Demand DB Instances (for Amazon RDS Reserved DB Instance charges, go to the pricing page). Bob receives the cost benefit from Susan's Reserved DB Instances only if he launches his DB Instances in the same Region where Susan purchased her Reserved DB Instances.

Also, all the attributes of Susan's Reserved DB Instances (DB Engine, DB Instance class, Deployment type, and License Model) should match the attributes of the DB Instances launched by Bob. For example, let's say Susan purchased a Reserved DB Instance in us-east-1 with the following attributes

  • DB Engine: MySQL

  • DB Instance Class: m1.xlarge

  • Deployment Type: Multi-AZ

  • License Model: General Public License

This means that Bob must launch his DB Instances in us-east-1 with the exact same attributes in order to get the cost benefit on his consolidated bill.

AWS Credits

To give the paying account owner the lowest bill, any AWS credits on the paying and linked accounts are applied to the consolidated bill. If a linked account is removed from a consolidated bill, any unused credits belonging to that account go with it.

AWS Support Charges for Consolidated Billing Accounts

AWS calculates AWS Support fees independently for each linked account. An AWS Support subscription for the paying account does not apply to the entire account family. Each account must subscribe independently.

Likewise, any AWS Support fees associated with Reserved Instance purchases apply only to the individual accounts that made the purchase.