Pricing Your API
After you add your API to Rakuten RapidAPI see the [Getting Started] (docs:getting started) section), you can charge developers for its use. Here’s how to think about and set up the pricing plans for your API.
Types of pricing
All APIs on Rakuten RapidAPI fall into one of three categories.
|1. Free APIs||APIs that do not require a credit card or subscription plan to consume|
|2. Freemium APIs||Paid APIs that include a limited free tier and require a credit card|
|3. Paid APIs||APIs that require a paid subscription plan and credit card to consume|
Free APIs do not require a developer to subscribe to your API on Rakuten RapidAPI to consume. There are no quotas and you cannot collect payments through Rakuten RapidAPI from their consumption.
If you wish to collect payments through Rakuten RapidAPI, you will need to establish your API as a freemium or paid API. Rakuten RapidAPI has several thousands of developers that subscribe to APIs. Allowing developers to subscribe to your API with a single click and test it out from a browser using Rakuten RapidAPI makes it likelier that they will convert to active users. You can create pay-as-you-go pricing or subscription pricing plans in Rakuten RapidAPI without any changes to your API.
Reimbursement for your API
You will receive payments when a developer subscribes to a paid API plan, when a plan is automatically renewed monthly or when a developer incurs an overage. You can read more about how reimbursements work in the Payouts and Finance section.
Rakuten RapidAPI takes a flat 20% marketplace fee on paid plans and overages. As an API vendor, you will receive 80% of any developer subscriptions (first-time or recurring fees) and overages.
How to add pricing plans to your API
After you upload your API, head to the “pricing” tab while you are in editing mode. You’ll see two tabs underneath the pricing tab (“Plans” and “Private Plans”). This section will address both public subscription plans (ones that everyone can see) and custom plans (private subscription plans that are visible only via a shared link).
To create public subscription plans, take the following steps:
- Within your API, navigate to the “Plans” submenu under the Pricing tab
![alt text](/docs/images/410790b-sample_Rakuten RapidAPI_pricing_subscription_tab.png)
- Decide which subscription plans to offer
You will have four potential subscription plans to offer developers: BASIC, PRO, ULTRA and MEGA. BASIC plans are the lowest tier subscriptions while MEGA plans are the highest. You do not have to have all four plans in your subscription.
If you want to have a Freemium API, be sure that your BASIC plan costs $0. Like other plans, you can add daily, monthly or object quotas for the APIs and overages fees if developers exceed them. We recommend a free BASIC tier for most APIs as many developers prefer to test API calls before they commit to a paid plan.
- Customize your subscription plans by adding daily/monthly API request quotas, pricing and overages
Most API plans are priced by a daily or monthly quota by number of API requests.
![alt text](/docs/images/6b1d085-Sample_Rakuten RapidAPI_Pricing_Page.png)
You’ll notice that these plans are priced by a monthly quota. If a developer goes over the monthly quota, they will incur an overage fee per additional call. We alert developers via email when they are approaching 85% of their quota limit and have reached their quota limit. For most APIs, we don’t recommend an overage fee higher than $1 unless your cost of making the call is above $1.
Overages and Forgiveness
Occasionally, a developer will have a bug in his or her code that causes a large overage fee. Rakuten RapidAPI cannot forgive an overage without explicit permission from the API vendor. To read more about payouts and forgiveness policies, see our Payouts and Finance section.
You can also customize your subscription plan to include features non-related to the API. Notice how this developer included support, development assistance and marketing assets as part of her subscription plan.
![alt text](/docs/images/fc20aaf-Sample_Rakuten RapidAPI_pricing_w_options.png)
- Add more flexibility to your plans with custom quotas
Sometimes, a simple API call quota is not enough sufficient to meet your API’s pricing needs. We get it. Read onto the “Custom Quotas” section for how to add more flexibility to your subscription plans.
You’ll notice that each pricing page gives developers the option to reach out to API vendors about custom or private plans. Read about how to build a private plan and their best use cases in the Private Subscription Plans section.
Adding custom quotas
Some APIs have pricing models that are more complicated than a simple call limit. For example, here is an API where it is more expensive for the vendor to upload an image than request it. You’ll notice that the “Uploads” item allows fewer calls and has a higher overage fee than the “Requests” item.
![alt text](/docs/images/71d9544-Rakuten RapidAPI_sample_pricing_custom_quota.png)
If your API falls into a more complicated category, consider adding custom quotas to your API. Here’s what you need to know.
Custom Quotas and Clarity
The more custom quotas that you have, the more likely a developer may become confused about your API’s usage. This can result in fewer subscriptions and/or more disputed overage fees. When you add a custom quota, be as explicit as possible as to what the item is, how it will be incremented and what the quota counts.
You can create up to four custom quotas, like API Requests, Videos, Messages, etc. Also, you can enable or disable features according to each plan: This relies on allowing specific users access to different endpoints.
Default Quota Behavior
By default, Rakuten RapidAPI increments each quota by one unit on every request, with the exception of response code errors (the famous 500 family). If your API returns an error code equal to or greater than 500, Rakuten RapidAPI won’t increment the usage for that user.
Incrementing Quota by Endpoint
By having quotas whose usage is increased only when specific endpoints are being requested, it is possible to associate endpoints and quotas. Every time the user requests that specific endpoint, the associated quota will be increased by ONE unit.
Incrementing Quota by more than one Increment
It is possible to override the default behavior and increment the quotas with an arbitrary number of units by setting a special header in the API response in the following format:
For example, to increment the Messages quota by 10 units, you should add the following header to response:
You can increment more than one quota as well by separating the values with a semicolon, like so:
X-Mashape-Billing: Messages=10; Images=3; Audio=2
Again, if you decide to increment a certain quota by more than one, we highly recommend including that information in the object’s description on the pricing subscription page. Adding this information explicitly will make it easier for developers to understand your API’s usage limits.