The two API operations have different use cases:
CRUD: Create Account is useful if you just want to create an account object within your Zuora tenant, without creating any associated objects (e.g., subscriptions). For new integrations with Zuora, we recommend using a newer alternative such as "Create account" if appropriate.
Create account is specifically designed to create an account complete with credit card information, contact details, and optionally an associated subscription. It's useful if you want to sign-up a new customer directly from your website.
It sounds like your use case doesn't fall into either of these buckets.
Since you want to create an account and subscription at the same time, but don't want to provide credit card information for the account, I'd suggest you use the Subscribe operation. This operation enables you to create a subscription along with the account that will own the subscription.
Does that work for you?
We'll look at improving the API documentation to make it easier to figure out which operation is best in a given situation.
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