Charge upfront billing explained

  • Updated

This article details how charge upfront billing works, and what happens when you cancel or make changes to a charge upfront membership. Keep reading to learn more, or click the links below to jump ahead:

How charge upfront billing works

With upfront billing, you are charged when you join and then on the first of every month. The first charge unlocks access to membership benefits like the creator’s backlog of exclusive posts and you can start engaging with the creator’s Patreon community from day one. Charges on the first of the month give you access to membership benefits for that month (i.e., your June 1st charge gives you access for all of June).

Your Billing history lists all past payments with their corresponding date.


We process payments in Pacific Time (PT). If you are subscribing on the first of the month, check what time it is in PT first. For example, if you join on January 31st at 11:59 PT, your next billing date will be February 1st.

Upgrading your membership

When you upgrade or increase the value of your charge upfront membership, you’ll be charged the difference between your original tier value and your new tier value immediately. You’ll be charged your upgraded membership value in full on the first of the month.

For example:

  • On March 20th you start your membership at $10 and are charged upfront
  • On April 1 your membership renews and you pay $10
  • On April 15 you upgrade to the creator’s $15 tier – you pay a difference of $5 ($15 - $10 = $5)
  • On May 1 your membership renews at your new membership price and you are charged $15

Downgrading your membership

If you downgrade or decrease the value of your charge upfront membership, you won’t be charged to downgrade and you won’t receive a refund. When you downgrade, you keep your original tier access until the end of your membership period. You’ll be charged your downgraded membership value on the first of the month.

For example:

  • On January 7 you start your membership and are charged $15 upfront
  • On January 26 you downgrade your membership to the $5 tier. You keep your $15 membership access for the rest of January and are considered a $15 patron during that time
  • On February 1 your membership renews at your downgraded $5 amount, and you lose your higher membership access. The creator will see you listed as a $5 patron on their end

Canceling your upfront membership

Charge upfront memberships renew on the first of each month (midnight Pacific Time) until canceled. Canceling on the first of the month will not cancel pending first-of-the-month payments, and you won’t be refunded for any first-of-the-month payments already processed. We recommend canceling on the last day of a month to ensure your membership does not renew on the first.

When you cancel, you’ll keep your membership access for the remainder of your membership period (the end of the month).

For example:

  • On August 12 you start a membership and are charged $5
  • On September 1 your membership renews and you’re charged $5 for September access
  • On September 13 you cancel your membership. The creator is removed from your memberships list, but you’ll still have membership access for your tier for the rest of September
  • On October 1 your membership does not renew, and your membership access ends. You appear as a canceled patron on the creator’s account

How annual membership works with CUF

Some creators may offer annual membership access. With this option, patrons pay for the full year upfront to unlock membership access. Annual membership will automatically renew after one year on the first of the following month.

For example:

  • On August 7, 2024, you start an annual membership at $9.60
  • On September 1, 2025, your annual membership auto-renews and you are charged $9.60

If you upgrade your annual membership, pro-rated credit from what you've already paid is applied to the new amount, and you pay the remaining cost for upgrading. When you make changes to an annual membership, it extends your year term from that date.

Here are two examples:

  • If you paid for a $120 tier and upgrade in the same month to a $140 tier, you pay $20 for the difference between the two
  • If you paid $120 in April and upgrade in June to a $140 tier, only $100 from your initial payment is left, so you'll pay $40 to upgrade

In both of the above examples, your membership auto-renews in a year and you pay your new membership amount of $140 in full.

How Annual Memberships work

Frequently asked questions about charge upfront billing

When will I receive all of my membership benefits?

Once you’ve successfully started your membership, you’ll have access to things like the creator’s Patreon-exclusive posts. If the creator offers access to their Discord server, you’ll be able to link your Discord and Patreon accounts immediately to be assigned your member role.

For benefits that aren’t managed by Patreon (i.e., physical benefits, or benefits delivered by the creator via messages), we recommend reaching out to the creator for time estimates.

I joined near the end of the month, will I still be charged on the 1st of the month?

Yes — you’ll be charged on the 1st of each month regardless of your join date. If you sign up on the 30th or 31st, you can expect a second charge on the 1st.

What does credit mean?

If you have a charge upfront membership, this credit is the amount you have already paid the creator for the current month

If you rejoin or upgrade, we credit you the amount you originally paid the creator at checkout.

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