I generated my first API key on 25th January 2024 but didn’t sign up. The whole process was a little confusing. However I did sign up on 3rd February 2024 and the usage page showed the $5 free credits. As I still got an error 429 when trying to use the API I created a second API key. The second key also gave the error 429 so I waited a day for the system to update. Today I still got the 429 error with both API keys so I produced a third, but the third also give an error 429. When I looked at the usage page I noticed that my free credits expired in July 2023! As I only registered on the 25th January 2024, how can this be correct?
The start of an API trial period is not when you first discover the API, but when you first create an OpenAI account. You may have done that in March, 10 months ago, when you first created an account to use ChatGPT.
That is probably what happend then. But I think it is wrong that I cannot try out the API before paying. I am a hobbyist and found and article in Elektor magazine on using the ESP32 with the OpenAI API. It sounded interesting but required that I buy two Arduino NanoESP32s (one running an Arduino sketch and the other micropython). Nowhere was it mentioned that I would also have to pay for the API.
The API is a completely different beast to ChatGPT, just because I am happy with ChatGPT doesn’t mean I will be happy with the OpenAI API. OpenAI should give me an opportunity to try it out before I buy credits.
OpenAI has acknowledged the situation like yours exists, but hasn’t put in place any mechanism to correct the past expiration.
You can send a message by the “help” in platform.openai.com and say “for openai staff: gimme free trial credits back” more eloquently. That would be the only place to appeal for free money. $5 of customer service to give you $5 - or you could start using API immediately, including having GPT-4 and a higher tier than “free” unlocked, with a prepay credit of minimum $5.