How would you feel about a Patreon wallet?

Hi folks! The payments part of the product team is interested in your feedback about having a Patreon wallet available for patrons. This idea has come up in other specific conversations, but I wanted to spin up a separate one to get some feedback, and how you would like to see something like this work.

We are just exploring this idea, but it would be something like a patron comes in, buys $100 of Patreon credits, and then can allocate that to creators as they like. When they exhaust that money, they would re-up.

What would you envision for something like this?

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Our of curiosity, what reasons does patreon have to consider this option? I’m curious what value you guys see in it and weather it is wanted or perhaps needed for reasons outside your control.

I personally don’t really see a need for it. Currently, you get charged what you say you are going to pay and that seems like the simplest more straight forward way. So, here are some questions/concerns.

  1. Is it only going to be the wallet or will the current payment method be available?

  2. (If it’s wallet only) Lots of patrons will not remember to “re-up” (I wont, and i’m on patreon daily) and many like the fact that they can just let it charge their cards or paypal without having to worry about making sure there’s enough money in yet another “wallet”. (If you plan to only have the wallet option, you will definitely lose some supporters and creators will deal with more declines every month because not everyone pays attention or is super engaged in patreon to the point of remembering to fill a wallet when they already have to do that with their CC and Paypal. Lots of patrons just like to support and let it happen/view content at their leisure. Requiring them to fill their wallet will cause a lot of issues.)

  3. Is how much people can fill their wallet with going to be a standard set of minimums ($10, $15, $100) or will it be up to the person to decide? If it is a standard set of choices and not their choice, you are going to run into issues. We’ve been over the issue of “lots of people paying small pledges to many artists” and honestly many people can only afford so much. If i had no choice but to “re-up” at $10, $50, $100, you’d lose me as a patron, period. Because I want to put in what i say i’m going to pay, and thats it. Paying in increments means i’m going to have odd numbers in my account, more money than needed in there, etc. It is why i like the current system. What i choose to pay, is what i’m charged, directly.

  4. Also, are the “credits” retrievable? Lets say, If someone has money on their account can they transfer them back to paypal or whatever once its on their patreon account or is it “lost” at that point? (I assume it can be retrievable for creators since we have signed paperwork to receive payouts but what about non-creators? Are they going to need to sign something to get their credits back or is it just going to be like paying for credits in (most) video games? Once its there, its there and that’s it, you are never getting money back because the ‘currency’ is not transferable.

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These are all good questions! I think the team is still figuring this out and will be doing more research with creators and patrons, but the questions creators have around this are really important.

There are no answers to any of the above - but as you point out, it’d be good to have both wallet and non-wallet options.

As to your second point, that’s totally valid! I think there’s a lot of people who only are members at that $1 - $2 because that’s what they can afford.

We’re just beginning to explore this topic, so I’ll interested to see the questions that come up here!

I think this is an amazing idea. A cryptographic token or coin that people could exchange for dollars. This could reduce fees to almost nothing, and if is done correctly, it could be linked into other websites and services. A patreon coin to tip people. I really think this is the future for tipping creators. Imagine if Youtube Red gave 1000 credits each month that they could tip to their favorite Youtuber. It would completely change the experience.

Okay now think about this as an added effect. What if there was a secondary effect to holding the patreon coin/token. Like some kind of bonus or dividend. I don’t really think anyone completely and fully comprehends the magnitude that digital currencies and how they will open up all kinds of possibilities for people. We could design very very elegant feature full coins that have self correcting features built into it.

Another feature to having tokens would be very small transaction fees. Maybe with smaller transaction fees a creator could sell individual posts and once a subscriber runs out of tokens it could automatically buy more. A creator could use a completely different model to sell to patrons with micro payments for each post.

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In my opinion Patreon should fix and made work correctly all the payment policy about the creaters get all their montly paids from the patrons before start to invent new strange things…

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YES PLEASE! If this means Patreons can pledge $1 a month for 5 months but only be charged once, for $5, that’d be fantastic.

You’d want to implement auto-top-up by some amount too. And Patreons would need to be assured they can withdraw all the funds immediately less processing fees.

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Technically, the idea of a wallet already exists on Patreon - but it’s a creator only feature. When we are paid our payouts come from our current “wallet” balance. If a creator has money in the system when charges are rolling out it takes that from the wallet before it sends you a charge. I always liked how this worked because it minimizes payment processor interaction.

I think expanding the wallet system to everyone and adding features to it would be great.

Features you could add?

The ability for me to set a “reserve” amount to keep in my wallet each month, so when automatic payouts happen it will stash $x in the wallet before it pays me out, and that $x could be the amount I’m pledging to other creators.

This minimizes fees and ensures I’m giving the max to people I pledge to. This could be the alternative to you creator/payee fees issue that you spent all that time trying to tackle.

Instead of paying each creator individually you’d basically deposit currency into your Patreon wallet once a month equal to your expected Patreon payouts. Obviously there’s some variable with pay per creation posters, but you could opt to pledge to them with a cap or pay as you go once you run out of cash in your wallet for those.

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I have been thinking about making and giving out my own digital coins as like a stock in my business to patrons as a reward. It isn’t that hard to make a digital token. The code is open source. It would be really amazing if this patreon wallet could hold all kinds of digital coins and securities.

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I’m particularly interested in this since we’re focused on this space…

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I am still frustrated that multiple of my patreon accounts don’t have a ‘Pay instantly’ function activated.

Patreon needs to realize what it is: An easy cheap way to make a membership site.

That’s it.

Then it needs to go look at all the existing membership sites for the features that already exist. Anyone who has a bit of money to invest from the get-go would be better served to create their own membership site owing to Patreon’s dearth of features for membership sites.

Instead, Patreon is changing their logo and trying to reinvent the wheel.

smh

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I know I am just rambling but on the subject of crypto currency if that is even remotely what patreon is thinking about. This is just a crazy idea, but what if each creator had their own unique currency. These coins would be exchanged against a central patreon coin. Each creator would get 1000 of their own unique creator coins each month. The desire would dictate how much an artists coin would be worth. Each artist would price their own rewards in their own coin. Patreon’s coin would be the only thing that would need to be traded against dollars.

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it’s not. imagine an exchange that could be used for both creators and contributors… whoa.

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I think this is a good idea if it could create a way for people to gift Patreon dollars. The ability to give another person $100 in Patreon credits for birthday or Christmas or something would create more donors, IMO. There are people who want to be here who can’t afford it, and there are people who want to give them presents.

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I’d be fascinated to see what the “wallet” idea does to processing fees, certainly, since Patreon would only need to charge that fee once, when the person bought the credits.

If this is something that patrons are asking for, it seems fine to me.

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I would love a wallet system. Gives patrons more flexibility over their funds and lets people buy Patreon gift cards.

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Adding any friction to the renewal process will increase subscriber churn-out. As an end-user, you want the process to be easy and automatic. Having to do steps to stay subscribed / topped up means users will likely drop out.

Is the idea is to have Patreon Cards in physical stores as a way for people to get onto the platform if they don’t have a debit/credit card? That’s a good goal, but A) the cost of selling retail cards is pretty brutal (ie, resulting in very high transaction fees) and B) the market segment of people without financial instruments tends to be a market segment without disposable income.

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I would say I am against this because when I stopped offering one-time donations, I got more monthly Patrons, which is much better in my opinion than any one time donation. I think a wallet would allow people to think of it more as a “one-time donation” type deal and would think less of a monthly or per creation subscription service and is the whole point of Patreon existing.

I think Patreon should stay away completely from the one-time donation deal because it would really hurt the “getting creators paid” product. You’re getting us paid, $5, $10, $25 here and there, but a monthly subscription keeps us eating and doing things, regularly. I’d stay away from this completely.

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This is exactly it. The more times people have to click to support you, the more their desire to support you dwindles. If it’s an easy sign up for a monthly donation, easy - never touch it again unless bank/card details change. If I have to go click every time I see something cool a creator made, I’ll only do that for so long before it gets annoying.

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Thank you all for continuing to share all of your thoughts, questions, comments, and hopes for what this could be. We are still very early stages on this idea and clearly need to answer all the above as we do. The product team may be lurking but they are reading!

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Maybe a better way to frame it would be as an annual membership option. So when you pledge $1 per month, you’re given the option to “minimize transaction fees and make your pledge go further by paying $12 annually.”

The annual pledge would be nonrefundable and would automatically renew unless they delete their pledge. The creator would receive the $12 up front, minus a single transaction fee.

This would put Patreon on par with Bandcamp by providing both monthly and annual options for musicians, and redeem the platform in the eyes of all the patrons who cancelled because they thought Patreon was trying to cash in on transaction fees.

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