We want and need your input on billing

Creator dashboards are already impossible to understand.

I have a patron who successfully signed up to a limited tier, wasn’t billed, still claimed a slot (months later, issue is still unresolved).

New currency options only served to increase fees and lower my income, I’m not seeing any higher conversion rates.

Hundreds of pain points have been on the forums for YEARS.

Patreon gradually rolled out annual pledges, claiming to implement their features “carefully and thoughtfully” yet annual pledges prevent patrons from joining a higher tier for one month, and creators who disable annual billing, lock their patrons into their tier with only 1 option left: cancelling their pledge.

I can go on and on and on…

It’s not strange that creators no longer trust Patreon to act in our interest or even to make this shit work properly when so much is currently broken.

5 Likes

One major user group that would be negatively impacted by Anniversary Billing are those who ship physical items. I think the workflow of this user group is not well understood because so much work is done outside Patreon (for fulfillment purposes), but SHOULD be understood because per patron, we tend to bring in much more income (our tiers tend to start at $15+ instead of $1+).

TL;DR: when you are shipping items to EVERY SINGLE PATRON, it would be way too much work to deal with patron payments trickling in randomly throughout the month when you’re trying to ship – I am NOT downloading CSVs every day to import new patrons into my shipping software. That’s way too much time loss

I am in this user group and will explain WHY exactly this change would be extremely bad for us. When you ship physical items, the workflow is as follows:

  1. Patreon collects payments and addresses and compiles them into CSVs. There can be hundreds to thousands of items we need to ship MONTHLY. today, the bulk of our payments come through on the 1st, which is GOOD, because we can export these people and ship in bulk.
  2. After all payments are collected, we (the users) need to download said CSV, and then usually we MUST
  3. wrangle the data in the CSV to make it play nice with shipping software (such as shipstation) – we need to have items to ship nicely formatted, account for specific tiers, add unique order IDs, etc. It’s a lot of work taking a minimum of 30 minutes.
  4. Import the orders to whatever shipping software we’re using, ship the orders, and trace this fulfillment/completion back into patreon via relationship manager.
  5. Creators like me who do charge up front typically have to handle new patrons individually as they trickle in throughout the month, going thru those last 4 steps repeatedly. Annoying, but not horrible because those patrons who stick around will get moved to the bulk shipment on the following 1sts of each month.

The reason Anniversary billing is SO BAD is because that you would take the problem in step 5 and basically multiply it by tons of people, and this would be NON STOP every month for the future and compound to be worse and worse every month.

It’s already hard enough for us who ship items to deal with Patreon’s CSV quirks month by month because Patreon does not integrate with any shipping software, and the API is orphaned last I heard. Truly, the root cause of our issue lies in the lack of integration with shipping softwares, but that problem is not going to be solved, and anniversary billing is going to be the nail in the coffin.

TL;DR: Basically, it would be way too much work to deal with patron payments trickling in randomly throughout the month when you’re trying to ship. I am NOT downloading CSVs every day to import new patrons into my shipping software. That’s way too much time lost and I would have to change to another platform or find an integrated subscription solution (via shopify for example).

7 Likes

I’m going to add that I’ve been on Patreon as a creator and a patron since 2015 and this is confusing to me:

I am currently a $1 patron of this creator, but she changed up her tiers a couple of days ago adding something I want THIS MONTH. From looking at this, I honestly cannot tell if I’m going to be charged today because it looks like it will be on March 1st because it says “March 1st charge”, but it also says “renews automatically March 1st”. It should say I own $4 something today since I’ve already been charged my $1 for this month and am just trying to bump it up.

If I’m not charged until March 1st, then I won’t get this month’s rewards which are what I am signing up for. Or does this creator not have charge up front enabled? If that’s the case, does that mean I could hypothetically slip in with this $5 pledge, get this month’s $5 reward, and then slip out without being charged at all for it? Not cool.

Again, the “double billing” is not the issue. The confusion on the very first payment page is very much the issue. This is what needs to be fixed.

At this point in the process I can’t tell if I’ll be getting the rewards from the new tier this month or not, if I’m being charged today or not, if it’s subtracting the $1 payment I already made at the beginning of the month (some patrons might even think now they are paying not only the $1 at the beginning of the month, but the full $5 as well). The whole thing is unclear.

ADDING:
What about this? Once I complete payment this is my first experience as a patron:

No scroll bar. I can see that there is probably more on this welcome message. I can get to it by selecting everything and pulling down, but that’s sloppy. Before even seeing the creator’s content, patrons are having a bad experience with Patreon’s confusing billing and poor navigation. It reflects poorly on creators. There is plenty to repair before adding things that creators, for the most part, do not want.

9 Likes

This is such a simple solution, you would think a company that just got 90 bazillion dollars in investor money would hire someone who could think of this sort of thing. Why are they spending huge resources to fix a problem so easily fixed?

Brian

4 Likes

THIS!! PREACH!!!

Exactly this ^^^^^^

After communicating with my patrons, I will no longer be using Patreon if they follow through with their proposed billing changes. Not only does this add a degree of confusion and complexity, but directly impacts both me and my patron’s ability to manage our money effectively.

I will be moving to Gumroad if the new billing system is implemented.

Feedback from my patrons can be summed up by this Patron comment:

“i think as a patron i want to single-source my billing so it all goes out at the same time. like, this is the ONE change patreon is making that is seriously giving me second thoughts about continuing to give creators money – and it’s not the creators’ goddamn fault. changing to anniversary billing FUCKS ME as someone who lives paycheck to paycheck and has to keep a running balance in my head of when certain dollars go out during the month, and i’m in a position where i might not notice that so often but there are TONS of people i know who are in much more dire straits than i am that will simply evaporate out of the userbase because $1 a month at the wrong time will be $36-61 depending on how much the overdraft is”

After polling my Patrons via Discord, they concur with this sentiment.

3 Likes

I spoke with a few of my Patrons and they agree that they prefer beginning of the month billing as well. It makes things a lot easier for bookkeeping for them too. A few even said they would have to rethink supporting me on Patreon if the billing changed. :slightly_frowning_face: I feel like the lack of communication (or have I missed it?) from staff likely means this is happening whether we want it or not. I’ve not felt this disappointed since they were mass shutting down models’ accounts a few years back. I feel like my livelihood is being threatened and our voices ignored.

4 Likes

This struck me too when I was pledging to a CUP creator a few days ago: The relevant info is off on the right, nestled between the summary and currency ‘boxes’ that I’ll be charged this amount today. If I, a person who know how Patreon works, nearly misses the fact that a pledge will be charged right away, because the info is off to the side away from the big shiny ‘confirm’ button and nestled between what seem just a standard summary of unimportant info, then of course someone who is new and inexperienced with Patreon will get confused why they just got charged.

3 Likes

YEP. They’re making things really complicated to fix an easily fixable problem. Just make it really, really easy for people to see that information, so no one is caught off guard. All you need to do is change some HTML.

I just cannot imagine that patrons are asking to have 10 different charges on their card/PayPal if they support 10 different creators. It’s going to be chaos, and people are going to just stop supporting creators to get the barrage of charges to stop.

Brian

2 Likes

As a creator who must pay for what I’ll send as physical rewards and would pay more if I couldn’t buy in bulk, I don’t like AB. However, I think I could find ways around how bad this will be for me. “Will” because I know it will happen.
But as a patron, who was billed 57€ last month to support 14 creators, I can see how hellish that would be for patrons. Every single month. To fix a one-time issue with some.
But I get it’s your own issues you want to fix, so I know it will happen and will just shut up now.

1 Like

Sorry. I must have missed the part where Patreon explained how the solution to confusing billing was “Let’s implement a totally new system” and not “Maybe we should be better at explaining.” You know, so that both Creators AND the Patrons of those Creators know what is going on at any given time.

If I come in mid-month in support of a creator, it should be made very clear to me that I am NOT being double billed, I am instead paying a GREATLY REDUCED RATE for access to all that Creators previous offerings up to that point in time. I’m getting access to a bunch of neat stuff for a pittance compared to how much Patrons who have been around the whole time had to pay up to now.

I’ve been around here a long time and I’ve seen a bunch of Patreon’s attempts to improve things. Like many others, I’d much prefer they improve the things they already have rather than invent new things to call improvements.

Maybe what we need to do is start talking to the investors rather than the Patreon Team.

3 Likes

Nailed it. This “problem” can actually be fixed with some updated text. Maybe bold part of it. Should take a good web designer a few minutes to make the change.

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The ‘confusion’ claim strikes me as an excuse to make the switch, not the driving force behind it. Given the problems Patreon has at the begging of the month with performance, I have a strong suspicion that rather than fix that, they want to spread the processing over the month.

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PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE THE BILLING CYCLE!!

By charging patrons on the day they signed up, you are creating an absolute logistical nightmare. It would also allow people who signed up late in a month to get the next month free and unsubscribe before they are billed… among other things that would honestly kill my entire patreon. We would be forced to leave patreon for no other choice and use paypal directly.

3 Likes

My thoughts exactly. This is either happening or it isn’t. My 480 patrons are very loyal and would gladly follow me elsehwere.

Please let us all know when you find an alternative.

I’m not sure they’re listening anymore. I haven’t noticed any updated letting us know it won’t happen.

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patreon is just a payment gateway these days. They add nothing we want, add things we dont need…
switching to direct paypal automatic billing is becoming more and more attractive every day, especially the ‘platform’ fees we are paying (which should go toward fixing the things we need fixed but don’t)

1 Like

Patreon has forgotten why they existed, and are ignoring the needs of the creators because they think we’re fungible, like any commodity supplier, or at least that’s how they’re treating us.