Patreon has announced that they are placing a new service fee onto patrons in an attempt to help their creators keep more of the money donated to them. That seems all well and good, but Patreon creators worried and furious (very furious) because they believe that this move will instead lose them patrons, resulting in a loss of overall profit for those creators.
Starting December 18th, patrons will have to start paying a new service fee of 2.9% and an additional 35 cents for each individual pledge, as revealed in Patreon’s product update page. Also, for patrons who support per-post creators, the new fee will be added to all paid posts.
Patreon believes that this new policy will give creators a larger piece of each pledge. “With this update, creators will now take home exactly 95% of each pledge with no additional fees,” Patreon wrote in a blog. “In the past, a creator’s income on Patreon varied because of processing fees every month. They could lose anywhere from 7-15% of their earnings to these fees. This means creators actually took home a lower percentage of pledges than their patrons may have realized.”
Now, while in theory the new scheme may work, it doesn’t seem like Patreon is taking into account how many patrons will actually stick around with the new service fee. Creators were quick to criticize the new policy, many insisting that though the new fee will give them more money per donation, it will end up losing them money in the end because the number of their patrons will drop. Some have even said that they’ve already lost backers, some losing up to 15 in just one day. Creators also don’t have the option to cease the new service fee; they are stuck with it.
Additionally, Patreon said that they will be changing the timing of patron payments. Instead of creators getting payments at the beginning of the month like it has been, patrons will now pay on a monthly basis starting on day that they agreed to back a creator. Many of the patrons on Patreon back multiple creators, so that means that under this policy, patrons’ credit cards are going to be charged multiple times a month rather than just getting a one simple monthly expense.
Patreon says that they want to make their platform a better system for everyone, but based on public outcry, it seems many fear the change will end up hurting creators and patrons more than it helps them.