OpenAI API Key – How to Get It for Free!

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘How to get your OpenAI API key’ by ShipBit

Written by: Recapz Bot

Written by: Recapz Bot

AI Summaries of YouTube Videos to Save you Time

How does it work?
Learn how to set up and use OpenAI API in steps.

Key Insights

  • The video is a tutorial on how to set up and use the OpenAI API.
  • Steps to follow:
  • 1. Visit and click on "Try ChatGPT" and then "Sign Up."
  • 2. Register with your email address or preferred authentication provider.
  • 3. If ChatGPT is busy, go back to and click on "Sign In."
  • 4. Fill in personal details and continue.
  • 5. Enter and verify your phone number with an SMS code.
  • 6. Select API on the next screen.
  • 7. Set soft and hard quota limits in your settings to control your spending.
  • 8. Add a payment method in the Billing section.
  • 9. No monthly fee; you only pay for actual interactions with ChatGPT's services.
  • 10. Set a monthly budget as a hard limit for API calls.
  • 11. Set a lower notification threshold to receive an email when reaching that limit.
  • 12. Select API Key in the menu and create a new secret key with a chosen name.
  • 13. Copy the API key for future use.
  • 14. Utilize the Usage section on the OpenAI website to track service usage and costs.
  • The video emphasizes the importance of using real data when setting up payment details, as OpenAI services are paid.
  • ChatGPT Plus subscription is not needed for the use case mentioned in the video.

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First, navigate to, click on “Try ChatGPT”, and then on “Sign Up”. We’re not actually using ChatGPT, just the OpenAI API, but we’ll get to that later.

Next, register with your email address or an authentication provider of your choice. If ChatGPT is too busy, as in this example, don’t worry. Navigate back to, this time click on “Sign In”.

On the next screen, fill in your personal details and continue. Enter your phone number and verify it with an SMS code. You should use your real data here as you will be paying for the OpenAI services.

On the next screen, select “API”. The first thing you should do is set a soft and hard quota limit to prevent you from spending more money than you intend. Go to your settings and select “Limits”.

The page will tell you that you must have a paid subscription to use limits, so you should change that. Go to “Billing” and add a payment method. There is no monthly fee associated with this. Instead, you only pay for your actual interactions with ChatGPT’s services. For our use case, you do not need the ChatGPT Plus subscription in case you’re asked.

Next, go back to “Limits”. Set a monthly budget, which is your hard limit that you can never exceed with API calls. You should also set a lower notification threshold, which basically means that OpenAI will send you an email once you reach this limit. It’s fine to set low thresholds. In our experience, a value of around $10 will get you pretty far, and you can always increase the value later.

Then select “API Key” in the menu. Create a new secret key and give it a name of your choice. You can have several keys at once. Copy this key. You will need it for our tool.

There is also a handy “Usage” section on the website where you can keep track of exactly which services you have used and how much they have cost you, so take a look at the statistics from time to time if you are interested.

This article is a summary of the YouTube video ‘How to get your OpenAI API key’ by ShipBit