The concerns over fees have everyone rightfully worried. I figured I’d post this separately since the ‘Regarding Processing Fees’ post is getting long.
To get everyone up to speed who isn’t: the 2.9% + $0.35 fee model comes into play because Patreon is getting rid of the balance, and wants to be able to bill users the minute they pledge to a page. Patrons get 30 days of access right there. This’ll remove the issues with double-billing someone who pledges to an up-front page at the end of the month.
Unfortunately it also treats every pledge like an individual transaction and obliterates batch payments which reduces fees greatly. Multiple individual transactions means fees for every one of those, which wouldn’t be bad if it was just a percent, but the $0.35 flat portion of it really cripples those with multiple low value pledges.
I’ve suggested solutions involving hinging on the Patreon wallet to allow users to load up their account prior to sending out pledges, but I’ve also heard that that may subject Patreon to financial regulations as a money transmitter. If this is true then a solution that doesn’t hinge on the balance is needed.
So with that: has Patreon ever considered pro-rating payments?
Basically you pay a reduced rate for your first full-month pledge to a page, based on when in the month you initially pledge. Then your payments to ALL creators are cyclical on the first of each month, all at the same time.
To prevent abuse, the pro-rated payment wouldn’t come into play until the first complete payment cycle.
As an example, if you sign up at a $10 tier to get the rewards and you sign up on the 25th, your entry month you still pay $10 so you don’t get full rewards at a reduced rate. Then the next month is roughly $1.67 (before fees) for just that first complete month (maybe a little more depending on how the pro-rating is biased). From there on out it’s the expected $10 per month. This would prevent people from swooping in on the last day of a month and getting rewards at a 30th of the cost.
If you wanted to pledge at the end of the month, grab rewards, then leave, you’d pay the full price regardless and wouldn’t be included in the next month’s cycle (with the reduced rate). One other option might be if the payments are so low (e.g., a $1 pledge at the very end of the month), you instead sign up for the pro-rated month + 1 full month simultaneously.
This would also allow all payments to be processed on the same day without requiring Patreon to hold on to a balance for users.
Has Patreon ever considered pro-rated payments before?
Another option might be allowing patrons to pledge for multiple months at a time. Pledge for 3 months to batch those 3 payments into one.