This article covers FAQs about the subscription billing model, which charges new patrons when they join and monthly on that same date.
HOW IT WORKS
If you opt in:
- New patrons are charged when they join and monthly on that same date, instead of on the 1st of each month. For example, a patron who signs up on April 12 is charged again on May 12. Patrons will see their next charge date at checkout and in their Active Memberships tab.
- Nothing changes for your existing patrons. They’re still charged on the 1st of each month.
- Your payout schedule doesn’t change, and you can still opt to receive an automatic payout on the fifth (or manually withdraw a lump sum each month).
🟢 Subscription billing is a better way to bill patrons if you want to …
- Deliver benefits to all patrons who have paid their most recent bill, regardless of when that payment occurs throughout the month.
- Avoid complaints, refund requests, and/or cancellations from patrons who feel double charged when they’re billed at signup and again on the 1st of the month.
- Promote your page at any time of the month, without worry of double charging.
- Avoid patrons who sign up, access your content, and cancel before ever paying (getting access to your membership for free).
🟡 Subscription billing might not be for you right now if you…
- Limit monthly benefits to patrons who have paid within a specific date range that month
- Limit benefits to patrons who paid you a certain number of times during a specific date range.
- Require buffer time between when a patron signs up and when you will deliver a benefit (e.g. creating and shipping personalized goods, scheduling a meeting).
- Manually expire access to benefits each month (e.g. download links, digital goods).
How can I switch to subscription billing?
You can switch to subscription billing by visiting your Settings page. The change is permanent, so you won’t be able to switch back to your current billing model. If you choose not to switch, nothing changes with how your patrons are billed.
Right now, subscription billing is only available to creators who bill patrons monthly. If you currently bill patrons per creation, please reach out to Support if you’re interested in switching.
How does subscription billing compare with my current billing model?
When are new patrons charged?
(Patrons who join after you make the switch)
When are existing patrons charged?
(Patrons who joined before you make the switch)
|When can I pay out my account balance?|
|Subscription billing (Recommended)||When they join and then monthly on that same date||1st of each month||As soon as funds are settled, with the option of auto-payout on the 5th|
|Monthly charge upfront||When they join, and then monthly on the 1st||1st of each month||As soon as funds are settled, with the option of auto-payout on the 5th|
|Monthly non charge upfront||Nothing when they join, and then monthly on the 1st||1st of each month||As soon as funds are settled, with the option of auto-payout on the 5th|
(Please contact Support if you’d like to switch to subscription billing)
|When you publish a paid post, up to the patron's post limit (if they set one)||Each time you publish a paid post, up to the patron's post limit (if they set one)||As soon as funds are settled, with the option of auto-payout on the 5th|
When will funds from subscription billing payments be available?
Funds will be available as soon as they are settled, just as they are now. You can still opt to receive an automatic payout on the fifth, as most creators do, or manually withdraw a lump sum each month.
The difference with subscription billing and first-of-the-month billing is that your account balance may accumulate at a different rate (spread throughout the month vs. a large amount on the first). But in both scenarios, the same amount still accumulates if you continue paying out your account balance at the same time every month.
(You may pay out as frequently as once every 24 hours. However, as with all payouts, we may cap the number of payouts available per month if payout costs and patterns change dramatically in the future.)
What do new patrons see when they sign up?
New patrons will see clear messaging at checkout, letting them know their next payment will be the following month on the same date, just as they expect from other recurring subscriptions. Their Billing History will also reflect their specific billing date. They can see their next charge date and amount under Settings in their Active Memberships tab.
What can I tell patrons about the change?
Existing patrons won’t be billed any differently than they are now, so there are no updates to communicate to them. If you currently communicate how billing works on your page, you can now tell prospective patrons:
You’re charged when you join and monthly on that same date, just like any typical subscription. You can see your next charge date at checkout and in your Active Memberships tab.
What happens if a patron’s billing date falls on a day that doesn’t occur each month like the 31st?
The patron’s bill will renew on the last available date of the next month, and that date will be the monthly billing date going forward. Someone who joins on January 30 will renew on February 28, and then on the 28th of each month after that. Patrons can view their next charge date in their Active Memberships tab at any time. This renewal date is also displayed for creators in Relationship Manager under ‘Next Charge Date’.
How does subscription billing work for annual memberships?
New patrons on an annual membership will renew the following year on their signup date, instead of on the 1st of the month following their signup date. For example, a patron who signs up on November 3, 2021, would renew on November 3, 2022 (compared to December 1, 2022, as is the case today). These patrons will still receive a reminder email the month before their membership renews.
What happens for patrons who subscribe to multiple creators on subscription billing?
On subscription billing, every membership renews separately on the date the patron signed up for that membership. This means patrons who subscribe to multiple creators throughout the month will be charged on the unique bill dates for those memberships throughout the month. If a patron signs up for multiple memberships on the same day, those would all have the same monthly bill date and be charged in one transaction.
Over the past year, we tested a variety of billing models, including some that combined patrons’ bills to multiple creators. This current subscription billing model ensures creators are paid in full and up front when a patron signs up (which is important for content protection and benefit delivery), and provides a simple, familiar billing experience for patrons.
Additionally, patrons can see a clear view of what and when they’ll be charged for all memberships each month in their Active Memberships tab.
What happens if a patron upgrades or downgrades their subscription?
Upgrading or downgrading will not change a patron’s billing date. As happens today, patrons who upgrade get charged the outstanding amount straight away and get access to the higher tier straight away for the remainder of their billing period. Downgrades will remain on the original tier until the next billing date.
What happens if an existing patron (currently charged on the 1st of the month) cancels and signs up again?
Just like today, if a patron cancels their membership and signs up again after their original access has ended, that patron will be considered a new patron. They will be charged at signup, and that date will be their renewal date going forward. For example, if a patron joins and renews on the 17th of each month, cancels on November 15, and resubscribes on December 21, their new billing date will be the 21st going forward.
If a patron cancels their membership and signs up again on the same tier before their original access has ended, their billing date remains their original join date. For example, if a patron joins on September 17, cancels on October 8, and signs up again on October 15, they’ve already paid for their membership through October 17 and wouldn’t be charged again until then.
How do I refund a subscription billing patron?
The process for refunding patrons doesn’t change. You can refund a patron’s three most recent payments from Relationship Manager, as long as you have an account balance to cover the refunded amount. You can only refund a charge within 90 days of the original processing date. For annual pledges, you can initiate a partial refund up to a specific day.
How does subscription billing work for creators with Merch for membership?
As happens today, patrons earn merch after they complete a required number of consecutive payments to any tier that contains that merch item. If you add a merch item to a tier after a patron has already joined, they earn a month towards an item for each month of membership they pay for after the item goes live.
For example, if you add a merch item to a tier on May 15th, an existing patron with a billing date of the 20th would make their eligible payments on May 20th and June 20th, and earn the item with their third payment on July 20th. Learn more about Merch eligibility.
How is running a Special Offer impacted by subscription billing?
There are no changes to Special Offers. You can continue to run these as normal.
I’m on subscription billing and my patron can’t edit their currency. How can they do so?
Currency editing is currently not available on subscription billing, but will be available by the end of 2022. If you’re on subscription billing and have a patron who wants to change the currency they pay in, please have them cancel and sign up again in their desired currency.
How will I track the billing date for my new patrons?
Patron Relationship Manager will continue to be the source of truth for patron information. To identify whether a patron is on subscription billing, enable the custom column Next Charge Date in Relationship Manager. This will help you identify benefit eligibility and appears as a column in the CSV download.
I rely on the API to deliver my benefits. Is the API supported on this billing model?
Yes, you can continue using the API to deliver benefits as expected.
If I enable subscription billing, can I change my currency?
Currency editing is currently not available on subscription billing, but is coming soon. If you have plans to change your payout currency, we recommend doing so before enabling subscription billing.
How will I know which patrons paid during a certain period of time?
You can get a list of patrons who paid during any period of time from your Relationship manager. To get a list click on Patrons from the left navigation > click the Filters button > adjust the Last charge date time range.
You can use the last charge date filter in combination with other filters like New, Declined, and Canceled, to communicate with specific groups of patrons. As an example, you could get a list of patrons who paid between September 1, 2022, and September 30, 2022, to send them their benefits.
Will this billing model support the Discord integration?
If you offer Discord access as a benefit, you'll still be able to do so as expected. The Patreon-Discord bot runs every day, and will sync patrons who join or lose access any day of the month. Eventually, subscription billing will lead to access changes spread more evenly throughout the month. Combined with the architectural improvements we're making to the integration (across all billing models), creators who use Discord will soon see more accurate syncing and surfacing of errors as they occur.
What happens if I need to pause my membership?
You can pause your membership in your Account Settings. Existing patrons will not be charged for one month starting from the day you pause. New patrons will not be able to sign up while you are paused. Billing automatically resumes on/around the same calendar day the following month.
If you resume billing within a month of when you paused, you won’t be able to go back and charge patrons whose billing date was skipped while you were paused. Learn more about pausing.
I bill patrons per creation. How can I switch to subscription billing?
If you currently bill patrons per creation, please reach out to Support if you’re interested in switching.
I am a creator on the founder’s pricing plan. Will Patreon still use shared patronage between founder’s plan creators on subscription billing to combine transactions and reduce transaction fees?
Founding creators will still experience the same payment processing fees with some reductions from shared patrons whose bills renew on the same date. In other words, if you have patrons who also sign up for other creators on the same date (and with the same payment method), all of those bills are processed in one transaction and you split the payment processing fee with those creators.
If your new patrons subscribe to other founding creators on different days of the month, which may be more common with subscription billing, each membership will be processed as a separate transaction with its own processing fee.
Processing fees from shared patrons already being charged on the 1st of the month will still be split among that patron’s creators who are on founder’s pricing. There is no change to your platform fee or fixed third-party payment processing rates. See more details on founder’s plan pricing.
I’m a creator whose benefit delivery workflows rely on 1st of the month billing. How will I keep track of who is due a benefit if patrons are being charged throughout the month?
We know some creators’ setups would need more flexibility than benefit delivery tools currently provide, which is one reason why switching to subscription billing is optional.
If you currently limit benefits to patrons who have paid by a certain date each month and want to switch to subscription billing, one way to do so is to deliver benefits to all patrons who are active at the time you’re processing benefits.
Another way is to deliver benefits at the start of each month to any patron who has paid throughout the previous month. For example, if you typically mail a sticker on the 5th of each month to patrons who have paid by the 1st, you can mail the sticker on September 5 to all patrons who had a successful payment in August. On October 5, you can mail the September sticker to all patrons who had a successful payment in September.
For creators with more fixed delivery dates and workflows, we’ve been working to understand what updates could help them succeed on this model. One need we’ve heard frequently from creators is the ability to pull a list of patrons who paid between a custom date range, or who paid a certain number of times in a period of time. For example, creators who typically start their benefit delivery process on the 8th of each month might need to pull a list of patrons who paid between the 9th of last month and the 8th of this month. We are working to support this functionality in the coming months.
If you’d like to help us improve benefit delivery, sign up here to participate in research and testing.