Plaid provides three different environments for developers to work with: Sandbox, Development, and Production. Each of these environments serves a unique purpose and is designed for different stages of the application development process.
The Sandbox is a free environment for application development and testing with mock data. It supports all Plaid functionality, including the Plaid API and Plaid Link. The Sandbox provides a variety of test accounts and institutions to test against, and developers can create an unlimited number of test Items.
The Sandbox is designed for development purposes and does not interact with any real data, which is ideal for developers who are experimenting with Plaid or still working out the bugs in their application.
The Development environment is used for testing the application against real data, but with a small pool of trusted testers or the development team. It's free to use, but is limited to 100 logins.
Upgrading an account to the Development environment takes about one business day and requires filling out an application in the Plaid Dashboard. Not all of Plaid’s products will be enabled by default in this environment. Some products may require additional steps to enable.
Use the Production environment to deploy an application with Plaid’s products. This environment provides access to real data and doesn't have any limits like the Development environment. However, usage of the products in this environment is not free.
Approval for the Production environment takes a couple of business days, and you'll need to provide more information about their company and how you plan to use the Plaid API. The Plaid dashboard walks through the process of requesting production access.