In this article, we’ll explain how each of our current billing models works for you and your patrons.
Article quick links:
- Subscription billing
- Charge upfront billing
- Annual membership
- Monthly (non-charge upfront) billing
- Per creation billing
- Billing models comparison chart
Subscription billing (recommended)
With subscription billing, patrons pay when they join and monthly on that same date. Subscription billing is a permanent change to your account, so once it’s enabled, you can’t switch to a different billing model. Subscription bills renew on UTC rather than legacy monthly models that renew on PT. If you switch to subscription billing and have existing patrons, nothing changes for them; existing patrons will be charged on the 1st of each month on PT.
If you are on monthly or charge upfront billing, you can switch to subscription billing from your Billing & payout settings.
Patrons’ payments give them a month of membership access. For example, if a patron pays on May 5th, they’ll have access to their membership through their next billing date on June 5th.
Interested in switching to subscription billing? Visit our subscription billing FAQ to get started.
Monthly charge upfront billing
With charge upfront billing, patrons pay upfront when they join and then on the 1st of each month after that. Charge upfront bills renew at approximately 12:00 am PT on the 1st of each month. Patrons pay for access to your backlog of creations as soon as they join. Patrons’ 1st-of-the-month bills grant access for the current month (e.g., January 1st payment gives a patron access for the month of January).
If you are using charge upfront billing, you can opt in to subscription billing, however, you can’t switch to one of our other legacy billing models.
Creators using subscription billing and charge upfront billing can also enable annual memberships if they meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Creators must be billing patrons with charge upfront or subscription billing to collect yearly payments upfront.
- If you charge patrons with monthly billing, you can switch to subscription billing to enable annual membership
- Creators will need to have an established payment history on Patreon. Due to the operational risk (fraud, credit card disputes), creators must have a solid payment processing record on Patreon before being eligible. Based on medium and location, these criteria may be subject to more restrictions.
You can enable annual membership, which allows patrons to pay for a year upfront, from your Getting paid section of your page settings. You can learn more about offering annual plans here: Offering Annual Memberships.
Monthly (non-charge upfront) billing
Meant to give patrons a preview of what your membership is like; patrons are not charged when they join. Instead, they get access to your page and benefits as soon as they subscribe. We process their payment on the 1st of each month for the previous month. Monthly bills renew at approximately 12:00 am PT on the 1st of each month.
Per creation billing
Per creation was our first ever billing model. Based on a “choose what you pay model,” you can create differently priced tiers, however, paid content is shared with all patrons. To bill patrons, you must designate which posts you want us to charge for. We create pending bills for your active patrons when the designated posts are published. Pending bills begin to process at approximately 12:00 am PT on the 1st of the month, or when a patron cancels.
Patrons can set a monthly maximum
Patrons subscribed to a creator who bills per creation can set a monthly maximum of posts to support in a given month – this ensures that patrons aren’t charged more than they can agree to. A patron’s monthly max does not impact their membership access.
Learn more about how monthly maxes work here: The patron monthly limit
Billing models reference table
Now that we’ve covered the basics for each billing model, let’s expand on what you can expect to happen when patrons adjust their membership or cancel.
|Billing model||Patron upgrades||Patron downgrades||Patron cancels|
They pay the outstanding amount to upgrade and immediately unlock access.
The patron will pay their new upgraded membership on their next billing date (depends on their join date).
The patron retains their original membership access until their next billing date.
On their next billing date, they'll pay their downgraded membership amount and will have downgraded access.
The patron retains their membership access up to their billing date.
On the next billing date, their access ends and they are no longer billed.
|Charge upfront billing||They pay the difference to upgrade and instantly get their new membership access. If no additional changes are made, they'll pay their new tier amount in full on the 1st of the month.||
Since they've paid for the month, their downgrade won't take effect until the 1st of the following month.
They will have the same membership access until their downgraded membership takes effect.
They keep access for the current month. At the end of the month, their access expires and we no longer bill them.
Once their membership ends, they'll no longer have membership access.
|Monthly (non charge upfront) billing||
They get access to their upgraded membership straight away.
If they keep their higher membership through the 1st of the month, we charge them their higher amount.
Their membership access switches to the lower tier instantly.
If they keep their lower membership through the 1st of the month, we charge them their new, lower amount.
Your patron will lose membership access as soon as they cancel. This includes the ability to comment on or like posts and access to other benefits, like Discord.
We won't bill the patron after they cancel.
|Annual membership||They pay the difference to upgrade their membership. They instantly get access to content and benefits for their new membership. Their year membership term extends 1 year from their upgrade date.||
At the moment, patrons wont' be able to downgrade or decrease the amount of an annual membership.
Patrons have membership access for the remainder of their term.
Once their year of membership ends, they'll no longer have access to your Patreon posts or other benefits, like Discord.
|Per creation||Their upgrade takes effect immediately. This means that any paid post you create after they upgrade will be billed at their new membership amount up to their monthly max.||Their downgrade takes effect immediately. If you make paid posts after they downgrade, the patron will be billed the new, lower amount up to their monthly max.||
If they cancel their membership before the 1st of the month we will attempt to process their pending bills.
As soon as they cancel, their membership access ends.
What happens if a patron’s payment declines?
Regardless of your billing model, we revoke a patron's membership access if their payment declines until they resolve the issue.
You can learn more about why payments may decline and how to help a patron through the issue here: Why have my patrons' payments declined?