Recently, Patreon released a blog post titled ‘Thoughts on improving patron billing?’. The post explains how Patreon wants to change the current way their billing works.
Currently they charge patrons on the first of the month but unfortunately this creates problems for both patrons and creators such as patrons who subscribe at the end of the month to a creator that uses the ‘Charge Up-Front’ feature as they will be charged on the day they subscribe but also on the first day of the next month, so they could end up being charged for a months subscription, and then charged again quite soon after even though it’s only been a few days.
I was overcharged $4. I bought the membership on September 29th, and as anyone would expect, this should’ve been valid for a whole month, till October 29th. However, I was charged again on October 1st. It doesn’t make sense to be charged $4 for only 3 days.Patreon User
Also for creators it can create issues such as only promoting their patreon in the first half of the month so that their subscribers don’t feel as if they are being double charged.
[Patreon] is my primary business, but I really only promote it within the first 6 or 7 days of the month. If we could promote 30 days a month, we’d be able to grow so much faster.Dana Alexa
Patreon goes on to explain how they plan to eventually bring in a ‘Hybrid Billing’ system that would bill a patron depending on certain characteristics they meet. Nothing would change for existing patrons who would continue to be charged on the first of the month. Patrons who are subscribing to their first creator would be charged and renewed on the day they subscribed. Patrons of existing creators who subscribe to new creators would have their bill rolled into one and would be charged on the date of their oldest existing subscription.
Creators would still be able to withdraw auto monthly payouts and also there would be no increase in payment processing rates with no additional fees.
We’re exploring options for prorating/discounting when a patron subscribes to multiple creators, and combining their bills causes their renewal date to come up before they’ve had a full month. We know that prorating for partial months will work well for some creators, and not others, so we’re going to test this further and talk to more creators before we decide on the best path.
Patreon is currently preparing to do a ‘test-drive’ of the hybrid billing system with a handful of creators. Starting out with a small group so they can test, learn and fix issues, but will eventually invite more creators. If all goes well they plan to make the hybrid billing system optional in 2022.
As we test and learn, we’re keeping in mind creators who rely on first-of-the-month billing to deliver benefits. We will work with these creators to understand what improved tools and resources they’d need to make this model work.
They currently have no plans to change the current system as of now, so all we can do is see how the testing goes and if this new potential system will be what is needed for both patrons and creators to have a positive impact on them.
What do you think of this potential system that Patreon may be introducing? Do you think they should do something different? Let us know in the comments below or over at our discord.