I unintentionally incurred charges while using the AWS Free Tier. How do I make sure I'm not billed again?

Last updated: 2020-06-11

I accidentally provisioned resources that are not covered under the AWS Free Tier, and I was billed. How do I make sure I'm not billed again?

Short Description

With the AWS Free Tier, you can explore and try out some AWS services free of charge within certain usage limits.

The AWS Free Tier includes three types of offerings:

  • Trials: These are short-term trial offers that start from the date you activate a service. You pay standard rates after the trial period expires. For more information on how different services are charged, see AWS Pricing.
  • 12-Months free: These offers provide limited usage for 12 months after your initial sign-up date. You pay standard rates after your 12 months free usage term expires or if your application use exceeds the free tier limits.
  • Always free: These offers are available to all AWS customers and don't expire at the end of your 12 month AWS Free Tier term.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you sign up for the AWS Free Tier:

  • The AWS Free Tier covers many AWS services, but not all AWS services have a free tier offering.
  • There are limits to the free tier offering for each service.
  • Any resources or usage threshold that aren't covered by the free tier are billed at standard rates.

When using AWS Free Tier, you might incur charges due to the following reasons:

  • You exceeded the monthly free tier usage limits of one or more services.
  • You're using an AWS service, such as Amazon Aurora, that doesn't offer free tier benefits.
  • Your free tier period expired.

To be sure that you aren't billed again:

  1. Verify if your account is covered by the free tier.
  2. Identify the resources that are generating charges.
  3. Delete or terminate any resources that are generating charges.
  4. Proactively monitor your usage to be sure that you don't exceed the free tier offering again.

Resolution

Verify that your account is covered by the free tier

Open the Billing and Cost Management console, and then look for the Top Free Services by Usage table.

  • If the table doesn't appear, then your account is no longer covered under the AWS Free Tier. You're billed at standard rates for any resources provisioned on your account. Delete or terminate any resources that you don't want to keep or be billed for.
  • If the table appears, you see additional information about any services that you're using that aren't covered under the free tier.

Identify the resources that are generating charges

Open the Billing and Cost Management console, and then choose Bills in the navigation pane.

Review the Bill details by service section to identify the services that you're being billed for. Then, compare these bill details against the list of AWS Free Tier offerings.

In the Bill details by service section, you can view the line items for each service on your account. If you see charges for your service, it means that your usage wasn't covered under the AWS Free Tier. It is important that you do the following:

  1. Identify the services that are incurring charges.
  2. Confirm the Regions where the services are incurring charges.

Important: AWS Free Tier benefits cover the aggregated billable total of your usage for all AWS Regions together, and not each Region individually.

Terminate or delete any resources that you don't want to be billed for

You can stop the billing for AWS resources by doing either of the following:

Proactively monitor your usage of AWS Free Tier resources

  • You can track your free tier usage with the AWS Free Tier usage alerts. AWS provides free tier usage alerts using AWS Budgets. These alerts notify you when your free tier usage exceeds 85 percent of your monthly limit.
  • View the Top Free Tier Services by Usage table for tracking the free tier usage limit of your services along with your current usage amount.