A cartoon person holding hands with a robot both with multiple speech bubbles

Understanding billing for GitHub Copilot

Ryan Salva
Ryan Salva // VP of Product // GitHub

In our previous guide on user and license management, we saw that there are several approaches you can take to allocating licenses to users, ranging from a user-by-user approach to granting access to an entire organization. In this guide, we’ll answer the most common questions you might have around billing, help you understand the billing considerations that might influence your approach to license management, and make sure you have what you need to control costs and avoid unwanted billing surprises.

In this guide, you will learn:

  • How GitHub Copilot billing is calculated

  • Who will be able to add users to the subscription

  • Which billing details might impact how much you pay

How does GitHub Copilot billing work?

When you sign up for a GitHub Copilot Business or GitHub Copilot Enterprise plan, you choose which members of your organization or enterprise get access to GitHub Copilot. When you grant someone access, you add a “seat” to your subscription. Each month, you’re charged for the number of seats you’ve assigned. You can add or remove seats at any time—by granting or removing access to GitHub Copilot—and don’t need to buy a set number of seats upfront.

Billing is calculated on a monthly cycle, and you’re billed at the end of each cycle. You’re not tied into a minimum term when you initially sign up for GitHub Copilot.

You’ll be charged on whichever payment method you’ve set up for your organization or enterprise account, such as a credit card or a Microsoft Azure subscription.

For the latest prices and available features, see our GitHub Copilot plans page.

Who can grant access to users?

Once you’ve enabled GitHub Copilot for an organization, any organization owner can grant access to members. Before you sign up, we recommend you:

  • Review who has the “owner” role in the organization—these are the people who can affect your bill by allocating seats.

  • Decide on a license management strategy, and communicate this strategy with organization owners ahead of time. Our guide on user and license management talks through the various approaches and best practices.

If you manage multiple organizations through an enterprise account, for more control over your bill, you can choose which organizations can use GitHub Copilot. For instructions, see “Enforcing policies for GitHub Copilot in your enterprise” on GitHub Docs.

When can I add or remove seats?

You’re free to add or remove seats at any time during the billing cycle. If you take an approach similar to what ASOS outlined in our guide on user and license management, you might choose to automatically add seats in response to users’ requests, and deactivate seats for people who aren’t using GitHub Copilot.

Adding or removing a seat affects your bill in different ways:

  • If you add a seat during a cycle, your charge will be prorated for the rest of the current cycle, and then you’ll be charged as normal during the next cycle. You’ll start being charged for a seat as soon as you allocate it, not when the user actually starts using GitHub Copilot.

  • If you remove a seat during a cycle, this change takes effect from the start of the next billing cycle. The user will still have access to GitHub Copilot until then.

You can track an organization’s usage for GitHub Copilot at any time in the organization’s billing settings. For instructions, see “Viewing your GitHub Copilot usage” on GitHub Docs.

Can a single user take up multiple seats?

If you’re managing multiple organizations through an enterprise account, each organization is responsible for granting access to GitHub Copilot for its members. If a user is a member of multiple organizations, it’s possible that they will receive multiple seats.

The good news is that your enterprise will never be charged twice for a single user. When a user receives a seat from multiple organizations in the same enterprise, GitHub takes care of deduplicating these seats before billing for the user.

It’s also important to note that a user’s GitHub Copilot Individual subscription will be canceled as soon as you grant them access to a GitHub Copilot Business or GitHub Copilot Enterprise subscription, so you can be confident that your users won’t be paying unnecessarily for their existing personal subscriptions.

With an enterprise subscription, it is still important to keep track of the organizations where a user is granted access. That’s because the policies that organizations set for GitHub Copilot—such as whether GitHub Copilot will block suggestions that match public code—apply to anyone who is granted access through that organization. While users benefit from permissive policies for specific features—such as chat or CLI access—across any organization they're part of, it's important to note that for policies like duplication detection, the most restrictive rule among the organizations will take precedence.

Now let’s review what we’ve learned so far and take a look at what else we can do with GitHub Copilot.

Up next: Essentials of GitHub Copilot module wrap-up

Get started with GitHub Copilot