Charge up front is in beta and not available for all creators yet. When it's available for you as an active creator with patrons it will appear in your settings. Patreon will not activate this feature upon request.
Charge up front is an option for monthly creators that allows them to charge their patrons up front as soon as they pledge. This feature is not available for per creation creators.
Charge up front is also permanent feature and cannot be changed; once you elect to charge your patrons up front, you cannot undo this. If you switch to "charge up front" from a "per creation" account type, you will not be able to switch back to charging your patrons "per creation". For security purposes, payouts from your account will be placed on a temporary hold for five days after opting into charge up front.
To enable "charge up front":
Step 1 - Log into your Patreon account and go to patreon.com/edit (or navigate to your creator page and click "edit").
Step 2 - Click on monthly or make sure you switch from per creation to monthly. Seeing something different here? Click Payments instead:
Step 3 - Click the blue button that says "Verify to enable Charge up front"
Step 4 - Enter your mobile phone number (and select country area code from dropdown as needed)
Step 5 - Your phone will get a text with the verification code- Type that code into the box below the prompt "Please enter verification code"
Step 6 - Click "Hooray, lets go back to payment settings"
Step 7 - Check the box that says “Charge Patrons up front”
Step 8 - Click “Save” (this is a permanent change)
How will this feature change how patrons are charged?
New Patrons: New Patrons will be charged on the day they become your patron, giving them access to all content shared with their reward tier. On the 1st of the following month, they will simply return to being charged monthly at the beginning of the month.
Example: A patron joins your Patreon community on February 25th for $10 per month. They will be charged $10 on the day they join, February 25th, for February patronage. On March 1st, the Patron will be charged $10 for March patronage.
Existing Patrons: Your existing patrons will be charged on the 1st of the month like usual.
Example: A patron joins your Patreon community on January 5th for $10 per month. The patron is charged on February 1st for January patronage. On February 25th, you change your payment type so that patrons are charged up front. The patron will be charged $10 on March 1st for March patronage.
If an existing patron increases their pledge, they will be charged the difference between their last pledge value, and the new pledge value. On the 1st of the month (and every 1st of the month thereafter) they will be charged the full amount of their pledge until they cancel or edit their pledge.
Example: A patron signs up on January 5th for $10/month. The patron is charged on February 1st for January patronage. On February 25th, you change your payment type so that patrons are charged up front. On February 26th, the patron increases their pledge to $15. The patron will be charged $5 on February 26th. Then the patron will be charged $15 on March 1st for March patronage and they will continue to be charged $15 every 1st of the month thereafter until they cancel or edit their pledge.
What are the benefits?
You get your money faster. Because patrons will be charged up front, Patreon will be able to transfer that money to a creator’s balance sooner.
Patrons can get rewards faster. Since you'll be getting money from their patrons sooner, you can choose to fulfill any physical reward distribution closer to when a Patron joins, instead of waiting until the end of the month.
Patrons will not be able to sample "patron-only" content. Some Patrons have been able to become a patron of a monthly creator to check out the content, then delete their pledge before they are charged at the beginning of the month. With "charge up front" enabled, only paying patrons can view your "patron only" content.
What should I do before opting into "charge up front"?
Message your patrons about the change! Because "charge up front" will change the way your patrons are charged, it is a good idea for you to clearly communicate these changes to your patrons. We expect that Patrons will be happy about this change since it means they may get rewards faster, but they will be even happier if they are well informed about any changes that may affect their pledges.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What happens if an existing patron increases their pledge amount?
A: Patrons who increase their pledge amount will immediately be charged the difference between their previous pledge level and their new pledge level. For example, a patron was charged $10 on March 1st. They edit their pledge to $15 on March 7th. On March 7th, they are charged $5 to bring the total paid by this patron in March up to $15.
Q: What happens if an existing patron decreases their pledge amount?
A: Patrons who decrease their pledge amount will be charged the new amount on the 1st of the month. They will not be refunded anything.
Q: Will I be missing a payment by charging up front?
A: You will still be paid the same number of times within the year by existing patrons. If you were to switch to charge upfront January 20th, your existing patrons would be charged February 1st for February access. Their payments from January 1st would now cover January access. You will still be paid the same number of times within the year by existing patrons. For example, if you have 100 new patrons on February 10th, those 100 patrons will be charged on March 1 for February. However, if you turn on "charge up front" on February 15th, those 100 patrons will be charged on March 1st for March. In either case, those 100 patrons will be charged on March 1st for the amount of their pledge.
Q: Where can I find a record of first-time charges for patrons and charges for patrons who modified their pledge amount?
A: You will receive an email notifying you of patrons who increase or edit their pledge. In addition, you can navigate to your Dashboard and click on the Patronage section. From there, you can download a CSV of every charge for your page. Each charge is associated with a patron and a date of payment. It is likely that the majority of patrons will be charged during the first 2-3 days of the month; however, be sure to pay attention to patrons who are charged throughout the month. These will be patrons who are pledging for the first time or increasing their pledge value.
Q: What will happen to my patrons' pledges if I am a "per post" creator and switch to monthly?
A: Your patrons will see no difference to their current pledges; but because they would now be paying their pledge amount once a month instead of every time you post a paid post, you may want to encourage them to increase their pledge amounts to match their monthly maxes. Otherwise, you will notice a decrease in your monthly earnings.
Example: if a patron is currently pledging $1/post to you with a monthly max of 3 and you switched to a monthly payment type, they would then be pledging $1/month regardless of how many times you post. Since your patron had elected to pay up to $3/month for their pledge to you previously, you may want to send them a note about the change and encourage them to increase their pledge to an amount they're comfortable with paying monthly.
Q: If I pause my campaign, will new patrons still be charged when they pledge?
A: Yes. Any patron who pledges to you while you're paused will still be charged. Anytime a patron pledges to you for the first time they will be charged. If you pause your campaign your patrons will not be charged during the next scheduled monthly bill.
For info on "charge up front" as a patron, click here.