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Using credits

1 month ago9 min read
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This document describes how to find the available resources regarding credits with CircleCI.

Overview

Credits are used on CircleCI’s Free, Performance, Scale, and Server plans. Each plan offers key CI/CD features, and some plans offer customization options depending on your needs.

The right plan for you and your team will depend on several factors:

  • How many users are on your team

  • How much support you need (community and free support, standard support, or premium support)

  • If you want access to different machine-types and resource classes

  • If you want a limited or unlimited number of self-hosted runners

You can view the Plan overview page for more information, or if you would like more details on what features are available per plan, view the individual plan pages:

Consider taking a moment to look at the CircleCI Pricing page to learn more about how credits are distributed across different machine types and resource classes.

Managing credit usage

Properly managing network and storage usage can potentially lower the amount of credits used per month. If you would like to find out more about managing network and storage usage, please see the Persisting data page.

Open source credit usage

Organizations on our Free plan receive a set amount of free credits per month for Linux open source builds. Using our Free plan and keeping your repository public will enable this for you. Open-source credit availability and limits will not be visible in the UI.

If you build on macOS, we also offer organizations on our Free plan a number of free credits every month to use on macOS open source builds. For access to this, contact our team at billing@circleci.com.

Troubleshooting: Am I charged if my job is "queued" or "preparing"?

No. If you are notified that a job is "queued", it indicates that your job is waiting due to a plan or concurrency limit. If your job indicates that it is "preparing", it means that CircleCI is setting up or dispatching your job so that it may run.

If your jobs use the Docker executor and you find that they are "preparing" for quite some time, you may be able to reduce the delay by using more recent docker images. See Building Docker images for more information.

Questions and comments

Consider reading the section below on billing. For any further questions, do not hesitate to open a open a support ticket.

FAQs

What are credits?

Credits are used to pay for users and usage based on machine type, size, and features such as Docker Layer Caching.

For example, the 25,000 credit package would provide 2,500 build minutes when using a Docker or Linux "medium" compute at 10 credits per minute. CircleCI provides multiple compute sizes so you can optimize builds between performance (improved developer productivity) and value.

When applicable, build time can be further reduced by using parallelism, which splits the job into multiple tests that are executed at the same time. With 2x parallelism, a build that usually runs for 2,500 minutes could be executed in 1,250 minutes, further improving developer productivity. Note that when two executors are running in parallel for 1,250 minutes each, total build time remains 2,500 minutes.

How do I buy credits? Can I buy in any increments?

Every month, you are charged for your selected credit package at the beginning of the month.

What do I pay for?

You can choose to pay for premium features per active user, compute, and optionally, premium support.

  • Access to features, such as new machine sizes, are paid with a monthly fee of 25,000 credits per active user (not including applicable taxes).

  • Compute is paid for monthly in credits for the machine size and duration you use:

    • Credits are sold in packages of 25,000 at $15 each (not including applicable taxes).

    • Credits rollover each month and expire after one year.

  • Docker Layer Caching (DLC) is paid for with credits per usage, similar to compute credits.

What happens when I run out of credits?

On the Performance plan, when you reach 0 credits, you will be refilled 25% of your credit subscription, with a minimum refill of 25,000 credits. For example, if your monthly package size is 100,000 credits, you will automatically be refilled 25,000 credits (at $.0006 each, not including applicable taxes) when you reach 2000 remaining credits.

If you notice that your account is receiving repeated refills, review your credit usage by logging in to the CircleCI web app > click Plan > click Plan Usage. In most cases, increasing your credit package should minimize repeat refills. You can manage your plan by clicking Plan Overview.

On the Free plan, jobs will fail to run once you have run out of credits.

Do credits expire?

Performance plan: Credits expire one year after purchase. Unused credits will be forfeited when the account subscription is canceled.

How do I pay?

You can pay from inside the CircleCI app for monthly pricing.

When do I pay?

On the Performance plan, at the beginning of your billing cycle, you will be charged for premium support tiers and your monthly credit allocation. Any subsequent credit refills during the month (such as the auto-refilling at 25% on reaching 2% of credits available) will be paid at the time of the refill.

What is prepaid billing?

Prepaid billing is a payment option for customers on the Performance plan. Prepaid Billing allows you to purchase credits in bulk, pay upfront, and be able to get discounted prices for credits based on volume purchased.

How can I get on prepaid billing?

All Performance plan customers can choose to get on prepaid billing through the CircleCI web app. To access this option, follow these steps:

  1. Select Plan in the web app

  2. Select the Manage tab

  3. Select to Set up and switch to get started switching to prepaid billing

I still have credits from my Monthly subscription, what happens if I get on prepaid billing now?

You will still have access to any balance credits that were previously purchased, and the 12 month expiry date will remain.

I selected prepaid billing but I didn’t receive a discount. Why?

Discounting for prepaid billing starts at a purchase volume of 5 Million credits onwards.

What happens when I run out of all my prepaid billing credits?

Similar to what happens today on Performance plans, when you run out of credits your credit package will be automatically renewed at the purchase level you have selected.

When will I be charged for my prepaid billing purchase?

Upon selecting prepaid billing, your credit card will be charged immediately. Subsequently, when you run out of credits, your credit card will be charged again to provide you with a refill.

I want to change my upcoming prepaid billing refill, how do I do that?

You can follow these steps:

  1. Select *Plan in the web app

  2. Select the Manage tab

  3. Click the pencil icon in the Credits section to edit your auto refill rate

Do I still get 30,000 bonus credits and 5 free seats on prepaid billing?

Yes, all prepaid billing customers still receive the benefit of 30,000 credits and 5 free user seats every month.

Is there a way to share plans across organizations and have them billed centrally?

Yes, log in to the CircleCI web app > select Plan in the sidebar > click Share & Transfer.

On non-free plans, you can share your plan with free organizations for which you have admin access using the Add Shared Organization option. All orgs you have shared your plan with will then be listed on the Share & Transfer page and child organizations will bill all credits and other usage to the parent org.

On non-free plans, you can transfer your plan to another free organization for which you have admin access using the Transfer Plan option. When you transfer a paid plan to another org, your org will be downgraded to the free plan.

If a container is used for under one minute, do I have to pay for a full minute?

You pay to the next nearest credit. First we round up to the nearest second, and then up to the nearest credit.

How do I calculate my monthly storage and network costs?

Calculate your monthly storage and network costs by finding your storage and network usage on the CircleCI web app by navigating to menu:Plan[Plan] Usage.

Storage

To calculate monthly storage costs from your daily usage, click on the Storage tab to see if your organization has accrued any overages beyond the GB-monthly allotment. Your overage (GB-Months/TB-Months) can be multiplied by 420 credits to estimate the total monthly costs. Example: 2 GB-Months overage x 420 credits = 840 credits ($.50).

Network

Billing for network usage is only applicable to traffic from CircleCI to self-hosted runners. Read more on the Persisting data page.

Your network overage GB/TB can be multiplied by 420 credits to estimate the total monthly costs. Example: 2 GB-Months overage x 420 credits = 840 credits ($.50).

How do I calculate my monthly IP ranges cost?

Calculate your monthly IP ranges costs by finding your IP ranges usage on the CircleCI app by navigating to Plan > Plan Usage.

In addition to the IP Ranges Usage summary, you can navigate to the IP Ranges tab to find more details about your data usage. In this tab, the IP ranges usage value represents the raw number of bytes in or out of the Docker container during execution of a job with IP ranges enabled.

This number includes the job’s overall network transfer and any other bytes that go in or out of the Docker container. Data used to pull in the Docker image to the container before the job starts executing will not incur usage costs for jobs with IP ranges enabled.

This feature will consume 450 credits from your account for each GB of data used for jobs with IP ranges enabled. You can also view job-specific details of IP ranges usage in the Resources tab on the Job Details UI page. See IP ranges pricing for more information.

How do I predict my monthly IP ranges cost without enabling the feature first?

You can view an approximation of network transfer for any Docker job (excluding Remote Docker) in the Resources tab on the Job Details UI page. Convert this value to GB if it is not already in GB and multiply by 450 credits to predict the approximate cost of enabling IP ranges on that Docker job.

Why does CircleCI have per-active-user pricing?

Credit usage covers access to compute. We prefer to keep usage costs as low as possible to encourage frequent job runs, which is the foundation of a good CI practice. Per-active-user fees cover access to platform features and job orchestration. This includes features like dependency caching, artifact caching, and workspaces, all of which speed up build times without incurring additional compute cost.

What constitutes an Active User?

An active user is any user who triggers the use of compute resources on non-OSS projects. This includes activities such as:

  • Commits from users that trigger builds, including PR Merge commits

  • Re-running jobs in the CircleCI web application, including SSH debug

  • Approving manual jobs (approver will be considered the actor of all downstream jobs).

  • Using scheduled workflows

  • Machine users

To find a list of your Active Users, log in to the CircleCI web app, click menu:Plan[Plan Usage > Users].

Am I charged if my job is "Queued" or "Preparing"?

No. If you are notified that a job is "queued", it indicates that your job is waiting due to a plan or concurrency limit. If your job indicates that it is "preparing", it means that CircleCI is setting up or dispatching your job so that it may run.

What are the other renewal dates?

The first credit card charge on the day you upgrade to a paid plan or change paid plans, in addition to the following charges from CircleCI:

  • On the monthly renewal date if your team is on the monthly plan.

  • On the annual renewal date if your team is on the annual plan.

  • On the last day of the month if your team is on the annual plan and there is an outstanding balance from adding new users or utilizing more credits.

  • If you are on the Performance plan, anytime your team’s credit balance drops below your preset limit, another credit purchase will be processed.

Are there credit plans for open source projects?

Open source organizations on our Free plan receive 400,000 free credits per month that can be spent on Linux open source projects. Open-source credit availability and limits will not be visible in the UI.

If you build on macOS, we also offer organizations on our Free plan 25,000 free credits per month to use on macOS open source builds. For access to this, contact our team at billing@circleci.com. Free credits for macOS open source builds can be used on a maximum of 2 concurrent jobs per organization.

Can I get discounts for open source on the Performance plan?

CircleCI no longer offers discounts for open source customers on the Performance plan.

Why does CircleCI charge for Docker layer caching?

Docker layer caching (DLC) reduces build times on pipelines where Docker images are built by only rebuilding Docker layers that have changed (read more on the Docker Layer Caching page). DLC costs 200 credits per job run.

There are a few things that CircleCI does to ensure DLC is available to customers. We use solid-state drives and replicate the cache across zones to make sure DLC is available. We will also increase the cache as needed in order to manage concurrent requests and make DLC available for your jobs. All of these optimizations incur additional cost for CircleCI with our compute providers, which pass along to customers when they use DLC.

To estimate your DLC cost, look at the jobs in your config file with Docker layer caching enabled, and the number of Docker images you are building in those jobs. There are cases where a job can be written once in a config file but the job runs multiple times in a pipeline, for example, with parallelism enabled.

Note that the benefits of Docker layer caching are only apparent on pipelines that are building Docker images, and reduces image build times by reusing the unchanged layers of the application image built during your job. If your pipeline does not include a job where Docker images are built, Docker layer caching will provide no benefit.


Help make this document better

This guide, as well as the rest of our docs, are open source and available on GitHub. We welcome your contributions.

Need support?

Our support engineers are available to help with service issues, billing, or account related questions, and can help troubleshoot build configurations. Contact our support engineers by opening a ticket.

You can also visit our support site to find support articles, community forums, and training resources.