This article is a deep dive into our charge upfront billing model for creators. If you'd like to compare our billing options to decide which will work best for you, please navigate our article about your billing options.
Included in this article:
- How charge upfront billing works
- The patron experience with charge upfront billing
- How to set up charge upfront
- How to manage patrons after enabling charge upfront
- Frequently asked questions
How charge upfront billing works
When you enable charge upfront, we charge patrons as soon as they sign up. Their first payment grants them access to your backlog of creations and their membership. We then process patrons' payments on the 1st of every month after that.
Each 1st of the month charge gives them membership access for that month. For example, a patron's January 1st payment gives them membership access throughout January.
The patron experience with charge upfront billing
Now let's review what your patrons experience when you turn on charge upfront.
Existing patron experience
Patrons who joined before you enable charge upfront will experience no billing change unless they increase their membership.
Existing patron upgrades
Existing patron downgrades
|Suppose an existing patron upgrades their membership after you switch to charge upfront. In that case, they'll pay the difference between their previous and upgraded membership.
After their initial upgrade payment, we process their membership renewal payment on the 1st of each month moving forward.
If an existing patron downgrades their membership, they'll experience no change. Since they aren't unlocking new content and have paid for the current month in total, there is no need for an additional payment.
When their membership renews on the 1st of the month, their membership access and payment amount will reflect their new subscription.
New patron experience
Once you enable charge upfront, new patrons pay when they sign up. A patron's sign-up payment gives them access to your back catalog. Following their first payment, we charge the patron on the 1st of each month moving forward.
What do my patrons experience if I switch from per creation to charge upfront?
We will honor your most recent billing selection. When you switch to charge upfront, it will override your previous billing model.
For example, let's say you change from billing per creation to charge upfront on September 14. Any paid posts you had published in September are invalid when you switch. Your existing patrons will be billed their subscription amount x 1 on October 1. In the future, existing patrons will have their subscription payments processed on the 1st of each month.
It's a good idea to let patrons know about upcoming billing changes. They may be inclined to increase their membership level if they know that their terms will change.
Enabling charge upfront billing for patrons
Charge upfront is available to all monthly billing creators. If you currently charge per creation, you'll need to switch to monthly billing to have the option to enable charge upfront.
Here's how to enable charge upfront:
- While logged in to your creator account, click on the Page button and then Edit page
- Then click on the Getting paid link
- If you haven't already, select the monthly billing option
- Depending on whether or not you have 2-factor authentication turned on, you'll have 1 of these 2 options:
> Check the option to Charge patrons upfront — you won't' need to verify anything
> Check the Verify to enable charge upfront option. You'll enter a mobile phone number for SMS verification. Once verified, you can turn on charge upfront
- Click the Save changes button
How to manage patrons after enabling charge upfront billing
A new billing month appears in your Relationship Manager
When you get your first new patron after turning on charge upfront, the current month will populate as a billing month in your Relationship Manager. The new month will include new patrons who joined after you switched and exclude existing patrons.
Why the change? Once we start processing new patrons' payments charge upfront, our system needs to account for that transition month. All of your patrons will pay for their renewal on the 1st of the month, but only new patrons will have an initial sign-up payment.
Your existing patrons will populate on the upcoming month's income reports.
As an example:
Pre charge upfront >
|Charge upfront enabled >||
Every month after
Patron A joins on April 12. They pay on May 1 when you bill patrons monthly, but not with upfront billing.
Patron A's payment is listed under the April line item in your Relationship manager with a May 1 processing date.
On May 13, you turn on charge upfront.
Patron B signs up and pays on May 20. For May, a new line item appears to account for this new income with your new billing model.
|On June 1, we process all of your patrons' (new and existing) subscription payments. A line item appears for June and includes Patron A and Patron B's payments. Every month after May has all patrons regardless of their join date.|
What should I do before turning on charge upfront billing?
Let your patrons know that you'd like to change your billing structure.
How do I determine if charging upfront is the right option for me?
Charge upfront is not ideal if you:
- Have yet to create much content for your patrons.
- Want to charge per creation.
Charge upfront is a great option to consider if you:
- Have an extensive catalog/library of content fans can access as soon as they become patrons.
- Want your patrons to get rewards faster. You can fulfill physical reward distribution closer to when a Patron joins instead of waiting until the end of the month.
What happens if an existing patron upgrades?
Patrons who upgrade pay the difference between their previous pledge level and their new pledge level. Say that Patron D was charged $10 on March 1. They then upgraded to $15 on March 7. On March 7, they paid $5 to upgrade. Patron D has paid a total of $15 for March.
What happens if an existing patron downgrades?
Patrons who downgrade will be charged the new amount on the 1st of the month. There is no charge for downgrading. They will not be refunded anything.
Will I be missing a payment by charging upfront?
You will still be paid the same number of times within the year by existing patrons. If you were to switch to charge upfront on January 20, your existing patrons would pay on February 1 for February access. Their payments from January 1 would now cover January access. For example, if you have 100 new patrons on February 10, those 100 patrons will be charged on March 1 for February. However, if you turn on "charge upfront" on February 15, those 100 patrons will be charged on March 1. In either case, those 100 patrons would pay on March 1 for the amount of their membership.
Where can I find a record of my patrons' first charge and charges for patrons who modified their membership?
You will receive an email notifying you of patrons who adjust their memberships. In addition, you can navigate to your earnings dashboard and click on the patronage report. From there, you can download a CSV of every charge for your page. Each charge is associated with a patron and a date of payment.
What will happen to my patrons' pledges if I am a per-creation creator and switch to monthly?
When you switch from per creation to charge upfront billing, existing patrons will pay their subscription amount x 1 on the 1st of the month. If you have multiple patrons with a monthly max greater than 1, you may want to encourage them to upgrade to match their monthly max amount. Otherwise, you will notice a decrease in your monthly earnings.
- You are billing per creation. Patron F has a subscription of $1 per post with a monthly max of 3.
- You switch to charge upfront billing, and we convert Patron F's subscription to $1 per month.
- If you let your patron know that this change is coming, they may upgrade their membership to $3 per month.