Charge up front is a billing option for creators that ensures their patrons are charged before they have access to patron-only content. This guide will help you decide if it’s right for you, and walk you through enabling charge up front for your account.
This guide covers:
- What you need to know about charge up front
- How to enabled charge up front
- Using your after you enable charge up front billing
Read first: How charge up front works
Charge up front is a permanent change to how your patrons are billed. Once enabled, you can’t go back to a per-post or regular monthly billing.
With charge up front, your patrons are charged immediately to join your membership and then on the 1st of each month following that (regardless of join date). Their initial charge grants access to any back catalog of content you’ve posted for their level. Each 1st of the month charge grants them access to your membership for that month.
What you can expect for:
Existing patrons who joined your membership before you switch to charge up front will experience no change to how they are charged unless they increase their membership. Patrons will only be billed according to the billing terms they agree to.
- January 23rd: A patron joins your $10 monthly membership. Their terms state that they’ll be charged on the 1st of each following month.
- February 1st: The patron is charged for their January patronage.
- February 20th: You switch to charge up front billing. Any new patrons who join will be charged immediately to join and then on the 1st of each month. Existing patrons experience no charge when you switch.
- March 1st: All new and existing patrons are charged.
What if an existing patron increases their membership after I switch?
If an existing patron increases their membership after you switch to charge up front, they will be charged the difference between their previous and new membership amounts. On the 1st of the month (and every 1st of the month thereafter) they will be charged the full amount of their pledge until they cancel or edit their pledge.
- January 5th: A patron joins your $10 monthly membership. Their terms state that they’ll be charged on the 1st of each following month.
- February 1st: The patron is charged on February 1st for January patronage.
- February 20th: You switch to charge up front billing. New patrons are charged immediately to join, and then on the 1st of each month. Existing patrons are not charged when you switch.
- February 25th: The existing patron increases their membership to $20 monthly. They are charged $10 immediately— the difference between their previous and new memberships. They’ll immediately unlock access to your $20 content. They’ll be charged the 1st of each month following (regardless when they increase).
- March 1st: All new and existing patrons are charged their membership amount.
What if an existing patron decreases their membership after I switch?
If an existing patron downgrades, or “decreases” their membership, since the patron is not unlocking any new content, they will not experience a charge. They will be charged their new, decreased membership amount on the 1st of the following month.
New Patrons will be charged to join your membership, granting them access to your back catalog for the level they join. On the 1st of the following month, they’ll pay for that month up front will, and will be billed on the 1st of each month thereafter.
- February 24th: You switch to charging patrons up front.
- February 25th: A new patron joins your membership at your $10 level, and are charged $10 to join. Their initial payment grants them access to your back catalog of content for their level.
- March 1st: The patron will be charged $10 for March patronage. They’ll pay on the 1st of each month thereafter.
Switching from per creation/post to charge up front monthly
Patrons can only be billed with one billing method in a given month. When you switch to charge up front monthly, it will override your previous billing method.
For this reason, when you switch to charge up front from per post, any paid post bills are deleted, and your existing patrons will be billed their membership amount once on the 1st of the following month. We recommend letting patrons know about the switch beforehand — they may be inclined to increase their membership level if they know that their terms will change.
Enabling charge up front billing for patrons
Charge up front is available to all monthly billing creators. If you currently charge per creation, you can switch to monthly to see the option to enable charge up front.
Here’s how to switch to charge up front from your :
- Log in and .
- If you haven’t already, select the monthly billing option.
- If you have 2-factor authentication enabled for login, you won’t need to verify your phone number before enabling charge up front. You'll see the option to charge patrons up front and can quickly enable, so be sure you want to make this switch!
- If you do not have 2-factor login enabled, verify your account by clicking the button that says “Verify to enable charge up front.” You'll enter a mobile phone number for SMS verification. We'll send you a verification code to your mobile device.
- Once verified, you can enable charge up front.
- Don’t forget to hit save!
Changes to your relationship manager when you enable charge up front
You will see a new billing month listed in your
When you get your first new patron after the switch to charge up front, you’ll see the current month populate as a billing month in your .
This month will include any new patrons who joined after you switched to charge up front , and will not include existing patrons.
Your existing patrons will populate on the upcoming 1st of the month billing cycle. After the initial month that you switch, all new and existing patrons will appear within the same list
- May 1st: Your existing patrons are charged, and populate on the February billing list of your . Their charge date is May 1st, as this is how your previous billing method operated.
- May 13th: You switch to charge up front.
- May 13th - 31st: Five new patrons join between when you switch and the end of the month. Those new patrons are charged immediately, and populate on the May billing cycle list of your . Your existing patrons are not included on this list, as their May 1st charge is represented on your February billing list
- June 1st: All existing and new patrons are charged, and all populate on your June billing month.