OAI API switching to pre-paid billing

Up until now I have been on the end-of-month billing plan. I just pre-paid an amount. So then, theoretically, next month I should see this screen?

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Making a prepay doesn’t switch your account type. When OpenAI rolls out the next round of account hate to sour the milk is when you’ll be switched and then be able to see the auto-recharge.


I just don’t get it. I’ve been a paying customer for over a year, and while I’m not earning them a lot of monthly revenue, I am working on it. I have designed my application to use any one of the top competing models, but I continue to primarily use OpenAI not just because they’re still the best, but out of a sense of customer loyalty. I guess it’s an old-school thing.

Why treat us like our opinions, and our loyalty, mean absolutely nothing? Because that’s exactly what this feels like.


First comes binding arbitration agreement where the only judge you get is an industry that serves the corporation, then the mandatory prepaying -

…then comes the thievery by a band of criminals.


Like many others, I have no way to make this auto top-off when the balance gets low. Our bills are less than $10 a month on average and we’ve never missed. I don’t even know what to say.

Not anymore! (As of March 25th, 2024)

Also, I wish we had an option to easily refresh the account automatically up to $X dollars. Make it an easier UI experience, because after I paid $25 to “top up” for the next month or two, I noticed that even after F5 Refresh it still wasn’t obvious right on that same page what my new “credit grants” balance was – I had to go to the Usage page [ https://platform.openai.com/usage ] to see it. :roll_eyes:

Also, WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH those credits that I just bought showing an “EXPIRES” date?
How can a business take my actual Real Money, but then set it to “expire” if unused after 12 months? SERIOUSLY!?

After purchasing prepaid credits, to see your current “Balance” remaining you must go to the Usage page [ https://platform.openai.com/usage ].

It is what it is.

I’ve had an OAI account probably since at around 2019-2020, and I just now got switched to prepaid as well. My total payments to OpenAI are in the four figures. Never missed a single payment, I run public projects, most of my code bases are open source on GitHub etc.

Got switched to prepaid regardless.

Again, there are no communications with OpenAI, their customer service is non-existent, I’ve never gotten a single issue resolved, not even with billing department.

I have ONCE received a two-sentence e-mail from someone at OpenAI who sounded like they were high on drugs, and it took 6-7 weeks to reply, and it was a disputed bill after the assistant API’s backend literally broke on OAI’s backend and caused tens of dollars in compute that went poof since they had an internal database error and the whole thread broke, and in the end I got charged for it. So they literally charged me as their customer for their own internal database error. Top notch service right there.

The “customer support” chat system is absolutely atrocious, and there’s no other means of communication. That AND the flagging system that is just from hell. So, basically, there’s no customer service at all (as pointed out by other people with the quoted threads), OpenAI has consistently ignored all avenues of feedback, and so on.

Albeit understandable in terms of the AI industry as it currently is (in a chaotic state), moving people to prepaid accounts does have that overall feel to it where if you’re not a corporate/enterprise customer, you’re more of a liability than an asset. Then again, given how chaotic the whole AI industry currently is, I can see that there’s a reason for the policy change, but the way it’s being handled is often murky at best.

If they’d really care about their small-to-mid-sized customer base (even on the four-figure sum side), one would assume there’d be more attention and resources put to their customer service. However, since that’s not the case, let’s be honest here: if you’re not a top-dollar mega-corporation, it seems that you are completely disposable to OAI as a customer altogether.

Sorry to put it this way, but after being OpenAI’s client for years, the prepaid aspect is just one thing in a plethora of issues: the recent news about GPT-5 being previewed to enterprise clients and corporate CEO’s indicates that only the top dollar matters, while the rest of peon masses can fight over whatever scraps they get, no complaints allowed.

Add to that all the rampant flagging and censorship on the actual ChatGPT site, which literally hampers the whole platform unusable for some use case scenarios, since even Wikipedia excerpts trigger it off and you as the user get flagged for those, too. Should you get flagged for going through basic NLP analysis on things like classic literature, poetry, lyrics and such and subsequently receive a content policy warning – there is no explanation given, no reply-to address, no appeal process.

So basically, OAI is constantly using their market lead position to engage in downright dictatorial practices in an already oligopoly-run technology. The customer, especially the non-megacorporation one, has little to no say in any of this. You don’t like their policies or practices? Go somewhere else. That’s basically their M.O. as of now.

I suppose this is what “benefiting humanity” really looks like. That and the homeless encampments you can see in Google’s Street View right outside OpenAI’s offices, “lol”.

Sorry if this post sounded jaded or ruffled some feathers, but this is the way things currently are in my view. It’d be great if something was done to improve the situation, but I doubt that’ll happen. Actions speak louders than PR spins.

EDIT: Just as I was writing an edit for this post, my Usage Tier got upgraded, so I suppose someone somewhere revisited my case and came to alternate conclusions? Who knows, maybe Santa Claus is real after all. Or maybe it was just an automated delayed result for me shoveling more money to OAI via the prepaid API credits.

EDIT 2: Now it seems I have a $0.10 grant out of nowhere on my API usage. I have no clue what’s going on, is that an error, an insider joke or what the * is going on … sheesh!


I tried using the API of openai chat.
I entered https://platform.openai.com/docs/overview and created an api key.
After that, I entered the playground, typed Hello and received the message that I exceeded the limit. How could this happen?
I tried to log in with another email address that has never used openai before.
I created the first api key, after 10 sec I entered the playground, typed Hello, and the same thing happened.
Please help me solve this problem, I can’t even imagine what I could have messed up.

You messed up in thinking the API was free.

You need to fund your account first, especially a second account on the same number that will never get any free trial credits (which expire).

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I just received the first email on one of our accounts today. Is the change only for accounts that have crossed a spend threshold for monthly billing?

Well my Org just got the email for this. Not sure fully the implications if any with the auto refill that you guys mentioned it should operate the same more or less. I would like to know though if there is a delay to top off. Also when topping off is the remaining credits considered renewed when threshold hit?

Purchased credits remain separate purchases upon the purchase of new ones, each showing their expiration date.

The payment system has continuously showed delays in the credits purchased taking effect and being able to be spent, even though the user interface shows your new account balance.

There remain transaction limits per day that may plague high-volume users that use the recharge feature without specifying significant gap between the “when , recharge to ” values.

Buy credits now, which will stop funds continuing to be added to your monthly bill balance (the remainder which will still be billed at the end of the month), as when the transition again takes place for thousands of users, making your $0.00 balance work again may have considerable delays.

Also note the policy language directly allows OpenAI to shut down your account for whatever reason they deem fit and destroy, steal your purchased credits. Don’t invest more in OpenAI (in any type of investment) than you can afford to lose.

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thanks for the info. Now I have to figure out away to try and pre-calc usage to ensure no delays on a full dynamic memory system that runs real-time… with background memory processing… sounds like I am not going to have fun calculating cost. I should look at the TOS closer it sounds like.

update: So I found out that everyone is moving over to the system. it was announced. pretty sure its a non issue. I think this was most likely done to stop people who use than doordash under the premise of paying. That would be costly if they didn’t.