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Home > Tips December 9th, 2014

How to Prepay Creative Cloud Membership Upfront + Buy Annually

See Adobe Creative Cloud New One-Year Prepaid Subscriptions

A lot of people have been asking for this, and now there is a solution for all customers worldwide…  Adobe’s recent CC 2014 release of creative desktop tools has been well-received, but some folks prefer not to have a monthly payment on their credit cards or would rather prepay for their Creative Cloud member­ships upfront, a year (or more) at a time. This used to be tricky, but fortun­ately there is now a very easy way to do it for all products available.

For each different Adobe subscription plan, you’ll now find a dropdown menu with a One-Year Prepaid option when buying or renewing your Creative Cloud subscription. These prepaid plans are offered in up to 84 countries and allows you to make a one-time charge in advance of each year, rather than a smaller amount each month… It solves the problem for those who may have difficulties with month-by-month recurring pay­ments, and it’s avail­able for all different types of memberships: Individual, Educa­tion, or Business; including upgrades from older software.

If you look at the various CC plans available, the new choice reads: “Annual plan, prepaid – One convenient payment with no monthly billing.”  So anyone can get this arrangement going forward, including for the popular $9.99 Photoshop/Photography Plan – and the total cost will be the same or less than the standard CC payment options:


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How to Lock in Your Future Price or Buy without a Credit Card

There are a couple of interesting points about being able to prepay your CC subscription. First, it means you do not have to keep your credit card on file with Adobe if you don’t want to – instead you can simply make/authorize individual annual purchases as needed to maintain your member­ship.  The second aspect is important for those customers who are worried about possible future price increases for Creative Cloud… While we believe that concern is not a major one, if you are uncertain about it then you can easily use the prepay ability to lock in your price for the future.

See the Adobe Creative Cloud 12-Month Prepaid Membership Cards

How to set/fix your future pricing? Well the new Adobe prepaid plan only goes up to one year forward, however there are also special Prepaid CC Key Cards you can buy (as many as you want) to guaran­tee your costs for years to come… These cards are not available from Adobe direct in any form.  However, you can get them from BestBuy.com with free shipping. Each one comes with a unique 24-character redemption code that will add a year to your member­ship. By applying and stacking multiple cards now, you can extend and run your subscription for as far as you like into the future. Here are the different types of these prepaid cards:

Two additional and important notes on the BestBuy.com prepaid CC key cards: If you want to, you can use PayPal to buy them – the same as Adobe, who recently also started accepting PayPal for Creative Cloud subscrip­tions. Keep in mind, however, that any products not purchased direct from Adobe are not covered under the company’s ironclad 30-Day Full Refund Policy, which even extends to software that has been opened, installed, activated, or used.  By contrast, opened computer software is generally not returnable to retailers, resellers, or e-tailers.

UPDATEAmazon.com also now sells some of these prepaid key cards as well, but with only two options (and Paypal is not accepted):

Do you have any further questions on how all of this works?  Just ask them below and we’ll get you answers fast!


See Also

New Adobe CC 2015 Direct Download Links: All Free Trials

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  1. starling

    great !
    been waiting-hoping for this, it’s about time

  2. Daniel

    Maybe it just me but those pre-paid cards have been out for quite some time in Australia, unless I somehow missed a blog post about it :)

    • Hi Daniel, good to see you again. Yes, in some geographies you’ve been able to buy the CC prepaid cards from some resellers, but it’s been inconsistent and never direct from Adobe…

      For example, Amazon.com used to carry them but stopped selling them entirely a couple months ago, though you can still find them at BestBuy.com as we mentioned in the article.

      Now though, it’s easier than before because for the first time, you can get the same prepaid CC plan direct from Adobe without having to hunt around, and without needing to have your credit card on file if that’s important to you.

      Thanks for stopping by with your comment!

  3. James Madara (@jmadara)

    I’m on the $19.99 a month for a year student plan. When I try paying for a year in advance I get the following message:

    [You’re already subscribed to the Creative Cloud Student and Teacher Edition (one-year), US $19.99/month plus applicable tax. See your plan details.

    Want to take advantage of our promo for this product? Please contact Customer Support to see if you qualify.

    Looking to build a team? Check out our Team offering.]

    I haven’t tried Customer Support yet. Let me know if anyone has done this.

    • Hey there James, the new prepaid plan direct from Adobe is not stackable – meaning you can’t add it on top of an existing membership or switch to prepaid from monthly in the middle of a membership; you can only do it when initially signing up or when renewing an expiring subscription.

      However, the Creative Cloud Pre-paid Key Cards available from BestBuy.com (which are offered for individuals @ $599 or students & teachers @ $199) are stackable on top of current CC memberships (or each other). So that’s the way to go if you are already a member.

      After purchasing those cards, you just enter the redemption code into your Adobe account and another year will automatically be added to your subscrip­tion for each card.

      Note that all the different prepaid options discussed in this article work equally well for either Windows or Mac OS… You are allowed to install & run the software on up to two computers, including both types of systems.

      Hope this helps! If you have additional or follow-up questions, just post back.

  4. They’re also available at Staples and if you sign up for Staple emails, you will get the occasional coupon which is good for just about anything including the pre-paid cards. Then go into the store if you’ve got one closeby and you can save a fairly good amount (typical coupons are 15%-25% of anything in the store). Added benefit to those worried about hacks is that you can pay cash.

  5. great news, have been waiting for this.

  6. Allen Conway

    Good news indeed!

    As it happened I phoned up the French office this week asking about a single yearly payment and no CC (credit card!) details on the Adobe site and was told that the only way to do that was to buy from a reseller like Amazon. Maybe I was 2 or 3 days too early, but the person I talked to did not give me the impression at all that this about to to happen. Maybe he knew nothing of it, maybe was just didn’t want to be helpful (if so he succeeded).

    I actually called to see if there was a way to transform my current monthly pay-as-you-go subscription to a yearly one. Presumably that isn’t possible – I’ll have to wait until my current subscription comes up for renewal.

    • Hello Allen, thanks for your comment. As noted above, Amazon doesn’t even sell the prepaid cards any longer – just places like BestBuy.com

      But of course it’s more convenient with Adobe now offering the same prepay option direct.

      Also, we’re trying to confirm if you can switch over from an existing monthly-paid CC membership to an annual prepaid subscription, before it expires or comes up for renewal… Generally speaking, Adobe does allow changing between different types of CC subscriptions (by first buying the new one, and then canceling the previous one), so it should be possible.

    • OK, we were right – you can do it…

      Here’s what we asked our direct contact at Adobe:

      Possible to change from CCM monthly payments to prepaid plan?

      Is it possible to switch from my current $49.99/month Creative Cloud membership (in the middle of the year, before it runs out) over to a fully-prepaid annual plan for $599? Would love to get a definitive answer on this from Adobe, to pass along to the customer – thanks!

      And here is the answer from Adobe:

      Yes, you can switch from an existing month-to-month subscription to a pre-paid one without penalty. You purchase the new subscription and it will be for a year starting on the new date of purchase.

      Generally, we don’t allow duplicate subscriptions under the same Adobe ID, so things can be automated. Just go slowly and be careful to make the correct selections during the process.

  7. James Madara

    I just used the pre-paid card from Amazon to extend my Student CC membership another year. Amazon is still selling them for $199.

    • Hello again James – Amazon must have a few left because they generally have stopped carrying the CC prepaid cards, and have no stock in any of the other types (regular CC membership, Photoshop CC standalone, etc).

      However, we generally don’t recommend trying to buy Student & Teacher Edition software from anywhere besides direct from Adobe anyway, because if there is any issue later with the required academic validation and verification process then you won’t be able to return the opened package you purchased, and would be stuck with something that can’t be used or resold.

  8. Sven

    Are you really sure that the credit card data aren’t kept on file with Adobe, for the one-year prepaid option?

    I tried to simulate a purchase of that option, by loading only the first page, and it said something like it would be automatically renewed after a year: which probably means that they still store the credit card info in the system, in order to charge the card again after one year.

    Or is there maybe an option not to store that info (and thus not to auto-renew), if one proceeds to the subsequent pages of the purchase?

    • Yes. If you are concerned about security and storing your credit card details, then you can join the Prepaid CC membership for a year and (after the payment transaction has gone through) remove your financial information if you want.

      We asked Adobe about this directly, and they said you can do it online – all you have to do is follow the 4 steps in these instructions:

      Remove Credit Card Information from an Adobe Account

      After that point, only the last four digits of the credit card number will remain in the account.

      You don’t need to get a Customer Service rep involved to do it – but if you encounter any issues, just contact them and they will be glad to check and help out with that.

  9. Sven

    Thanks for the explanation! :-)

    Probably, anyway, I’ll just use a rechargeable card dedicated exclusively to paying the CC membership for one year and more (thus, no problem if its data are stored online; anyway, let’s really hope that their servers won’t get compromised again).

    BTW, strange that the retail prepaid key cards aren’t yet available in Europe; at least, in Italy, where I live, I haven’t seen them, yet (and nobody sells them online, here, either).

    If they were more easily and readily available worldwide, probably many more people would subscribe to the CC, for one year or more…

    • Hmm, that’s strange that the prepaid key cards (available from resellers like BestBuy.com in the US) aren’t offered internationally in Europe.

      But you definitely hit upon an additional option we should mention. You can also buy any Adobe product with a “virtual” credit card number, which many card issuers provide at no charge.

      Also called “disposable” or “temporary” numbers, these are not actually separate new cards but work from your existing regular credit card account. The unique numbers are given to you by your card company at your request and have short expiration dates – so are very useful for one-time or short-term use, after which they expire and become invalid for any future use.

      For vendors, they work like any normal credit card number, there’s no difference at all. So they can be a useful option for an online purchase anywhere, if you are concerned about data security.

      Or if you have a standard credit card that is rechargeable as you mention, that of course works fine as well.

      But no matter what you do, don’t worry too much because fortunately the credit card companies all have zero (or low) liability policies for customers in case of theft or fraud, because they want people to use them! (Debit cards actually have less protection in this regard.)

  10. Sven

    Yes, that’s of course also an option, with a virtual credit card number.

    … As for the retail keycards, in Europe, for example, Apple’s iTunes or App Store cards are very easy to find, in sizes up to 50 €; but I have never seen an Adobe CC card, yet (maybe they are coming, anyway, who knows…).

    BTW, if Adobe also accepted PayPal as a payment method for CC subscriptions, that would be very good, too… :-)

    • Well, in most countries (including North America and Europe), Adobe does now accept PayPal for all products (software, book, support, and font purchases) except not for Creative Cloud subscriptions…

      As mentioned in the article above, for customers in North America, BestBuy.com accepts PayPal as a valid form a payment for everything, including the 12-Month Prepaid CC Key Cards.

      However, nobody we know takes Bitcoin at this time ;).

    • PS – Some good tips in an article from USA Today:

      “You can’t use cash online. But please, always use a credit card, not a debit card. The fraud protections are much better and a hacker can’t overdraft your bank account with a credit card.

      You can also check with your bank to see if it offers one-time credit card numbers for online buying. Since each number only works once, it won’t do a hacker any good to steal it.”

  11. Daniel

    @ProDesignTools

    Something that I’ve done, get a pre-paid Visa card that you can only top up once – sure there may be fees that you need to pay, I felt that it worth it :)

    The card is not linked to any of your bank accounts or anything like that, and you can get then from Woolworth (in Australia).

  12. Connor

    Just a quick question regarding the prepaid membership for students and teachers, i know that if i was to purchase this through the monthly subscription i would need to provide proof of my education and wait for Adobe to get back to me. one thing i have noted is that my local dealer requires sight of student ID’s before selling the prepaid cards. does that mean that this is the only proof i need as this would be much easier or will i still need to send off proof of education to Adobe.

    • Yes Connor, but it’s even easier that that… If you have a school-issued email address, then you are instantly verified with Adobe. They also accept other forms of verification such as your student ID, which can easily be submitted electronically without going anywhere. See the complete list and details here.

      It’s also safer to buy direct from Adobe because if you have any problems with validation or activation, or wish to return your purchase for any other reason, then you can get a full refund from them within 30 days – whereas resellers and retailers almost never take opened software back.

  13. Jack

    Hi, my local retailer sells the Adobe education yearly subscription cards. I am going traveling as a student for a couple of years and I know for a fact that some of the countries I will be in don’t offer the subscription cards and I prefer to purchase them upfront, rather then have my CC details online. It will also eliminate the need to budget for the subscription cost while travelling.

    The store will allow me to Purchase two Adobe education subscriptions cards (while citing my Student ID). My question Is will Adobe require additional verification while I’m travelling and using the second card subscription? or will the initial store-citing ID be enough? I’m not worried about not being able to return the product as I am an ongoing Adobe user and wouldn’t need to return it for any reason.

    Thanks!

  14. John

    Hi,

    Do the prepaid Photography Plan cards have an expiry on them? For example, buying a gift and the card will not be redeemed for a number of months.

    Many thanks,

    John.

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