Patreon’s new service fee spurs concern that creators will lose patrons

Patreon announced a new service fee policy that it says will help creators keep more money, but many are worried because they believe it will instead discourage their patrons from pledging.

The crowdfunding platform for artists currently takes a fee of 5% (creators also pay fees charged by payment processors like Stripe or PayPal) from each pledge. That changes on December 18, when patrons will start paying 2.9% plus 35 cents for each individual pledge, according to Patreon’s product update page.

For patrons who back per-post creators, the 2.9% plus 35 cents service fee will be added to all paid posts. Creators don’t have the option to cover or remove service fees from their pledges.

Patreon says the reasoning behind its new policy is to let creators keep a larger cut of each pledge. “With this update, creators will now take home exactly 95% of each pledge with no additional fees,” the company explained on its update page. “In the past, a creator’s income on Patreon varied because of processing fees every month. They could lose anywhere from 7-15% of their earnings to these fees. This means creators actually took home a lower percentage of pledges than their patrons may have realized.”

It added that “Creators often take home a lower percentage of their Patreon income than patrons may realize. Standardizing our fees across the board provides consistent expectations and more money for creators on Patreon.”

Many Patreon creators, however, quickly criticized the change, arguing that it will turn away patrons, particularly people who prefer to pledge small amounts to multiple creators.

For example, comic artist Gibson Twist said on Twitter that he expects to lose many backers because the new fees will increase most of their current pledges by more than a third. Twist added that as a patron himself, his own charges will also climb significantly.

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