Changing your Google Account's country is, by the looks of it, an easy procedure. Google has a small tutorial online, but judging by the number of people complaining online about not being able to get that simple process to trigger the switch, it isn't the foolproof and guaranteed method that you'd think it is. Odds are it will work for you, but there's no knowing when or if Google's algorithms will deem you unlucky and stick to your original country.
However, that process isn't just a coin toss for those who have a Merchant Account, it's an unequivocal "NO." Apparently, if you used your Google account to open a Payments Merchant account, there's no way to change your country. The option to modify your Home address in Google Payments is just greyed out (like in the screenshot above). Worse? You can't transfer the Merchant account to another Google identity to keep it alive but get rid of its lock. And the worst news of all? Even if you close your Merchant account, you won't be able to change your country. We've heard this from our tipster, Simon, and we were able to spot a few mentions of this online by people who got in contact with Google's Support and heard the same reply. It seems that once your account is associated with a Merchant one, the change is permanent and your home country is set for life.
Move around? Tough luck. Relocated permanently? Sorry. Went to the US and thought that whoopdeedoo, you'll now have access to YouTube Red, Google Fi, Google Store purchases, and all those US-only apps and movie rentals and TV shows on Google Play? Na-ah. Once a Merchant, always a Merchant.
The "solution" is to create another Google account and start from scratch if you want one Google ID. That would mean losing all of your previous purchases, all of your YouTube and browsing history, resubscribing to your services, having to reupload all of your photos and files, and more. But the Merchant account will always be with the previous account. Or you could sit on the edge between two Google identities and have fun jumping around trying to figure out which account you purchased that app with and sharing your photos and files between accounts.
If you take one lesson from this, boys and girls, it's that if you want to create a Merchant account and start selling stuff on the Play Store, it's recommended that you create a separate account to do that. Not only will it not make your personal account dependent on the Merchant one (we've heard many a story of Google closing some Merchant accounts and thus locking users out of their personal data), it will also leave you free to change your country later on should you want to.
The other lesson (and let's just agree that you didn't hear this here) is that if you live outside of the US and you manage to somehow fool Google long enough into thinking you are in the US and letting you open a Merchant account there, you can then let go of all VPNs and turn-arounds and rest assured that it will never ever revert to another country. I was once young and foolish enough to dare Google into letting me in the forbidden land of a US account, I wandered around undetected for a few years, then one day woke up to find myself exiled back to the barren land of my Lebanese account. Many daredevils like me have been caught with their hands in the US cookie jar, but many still roam free. If they can just switch to a Merchant account, even Google won't be able to exile them back. It's the policy after all, right?
- Google Support
- Simon Barke