Declined Patrons

Can we PLEASE get a better payment system so creators stop losing patrons that can’t have their payments processed? This is my sole income and I can barely pay rent this month due to having so many declined patrons.


A large part of the problem are the payment processors and card issuers. Their fraud detection systems do not appear to like Patreon.


I have reached out to those folks with declined payments and am successful about 50% of the time in getting them to edit their payment and stay on board. Good luck!


I do the same thing. So far I’ve had 5 of 9 renew manually. Hopefully the other four do as well.


I encourage my patrons to use Paypal if they have it or are willing to sign up (it’s free and very useful for the exchange of money without having to get banks involved; though if you have paypal and are transferring money to a bank account/receiving money there is an approval process for that for security reasons). I’ve never had a transaction decline with patrons who paid via Paypal. Plus, if you are a creator that charges up front, due to the delay in funds transferring from the bank, to paypal, and to their final resting place with the creator it gives patrons a 2-3 day delay in the charge coming out of their bank account, while the creator gets no delay in receiving the money.


I lost 42 this month and after my bulk message, only 6 have come back. I’ve had over 350 patrons total get declined in the last 5 months and out of that 350+, only a small handful have actually come back. If my rate of declined patrons keeps up where I lose 30-40 a month (and therefore money for rent/groceries/bills), I won’t have any patrons left in the next few months. At this point, bulk messaging doesn’t help - patreon needs a better system to process payments.


I agree that a better payment integration would help, but from experience it’s very common that payments fail for various reasons.

It could be that the card expired and never got updated (some payment processors lately have been helping on this by proving the ability of updating it without any user’s action, but I don’t know if Patreon does that), it got blocked (because it was lost or other reasons), not enough credit, or got blocked by the bank (this is especially more likely in Europe under the new regulations, in case the payment wasn’t marked as recurring). Paypal sometimes helps in this case because they have their extra layer and sometimes they get funds from other sources (eg. bank transfer, instead of card payment).

Patreon on their end already reaches out to patrons when the payment fails, but like others mentioned, I’d say that it’s very important for the creator to reach out to their patrons as well. I strongly believe that Patreon is mainly the 3rd party, and that patrons shouldn’t be considered as their direct customers, but I see creators as their direct customers, and patrons as the direct customers of creators. So it makes total sense that a creator would reach out to their patrons/customers to help when a payment fails; it also feels a bit more personal than a “Your payment failed” email from Patreon, and I think we’d all agree that the creator-patron relationship is very important to preserve.

What’s also important, and many times underestimated is the number of times to reach out. Most of creators would do that just once, and then stop it because they’d feel to put pressure on their patrons and be seen as only interested in their money. If I can give you an advice: don’t do that. It’s not that uncommon seeing people ignoring, not seeing, or just postponing an email, so if you just send one email, it’d be very likely that they may not see that at all.

My suggestion would be to reach out multiple times, within 2-3 weeks, to ask if you can help them to fix their payment; always acting as a person willing to help in the patron’s interest, and not because you’d lose their pledge. I can assure you that you’ll always get someone that didn’t see your previous email and fix their pledge with the 2nd, 3rd or even 4th follow up email.

This of course would require some extra time to deal with different people and different emails to send; time that you could use to create new things instead. Shameless plug: in the last few months I’ve been working on a side project to help creators dealing with these kind of emails, and also to better understand their existing patrons (how much they pledge, for how long, etc). If you’d like to give it a try just send me a DM and I can send you the instructions to try it out (for free, that’s on me :slight_smile: ).