Ko-Fi vs. Patreon: Which Subscription Services for Your Fans and Followers

Whether you are a content writer, YouTuber, musician, or web comic creator, you need a reliable source of income where your fans and readers pay you a fixed amount every month. We recently clarified the differences between Patreon vs Paypal and some of you ask us about Ko-fi. So today, let’s clear the air a bit between Ko-Fi and Patreon.

Patreon was started by Jack Conte, a musician who wanted a platform to make money from YouTube videos. While YouTube has a partner program that is used by millions of professional YouTubers, Patreon offers an additional source of income, even if you are in a niche market.

Co-Fi (yes, the coffee metaphor) has a similar story where Nigel Pickles wanted to thank a creator who helped him with a project. Wanting to buy him a coffee for the trouble, he created Ko-Fi so creators could be rewarded for their efforts.

The essence of both services is receiving money from your fans, but both offer different features for creators and followers alike. Let’s take a look at an in-depth comparison of Ko-Fi vs Patreon. Must?

1. Platforms

Patreon supports a number of popular platforms Right out of the box. If you are a blogger using WordPress, then there is a plugin for you. Patreon has an app directory where you can see a list of all the third-party platforms they support, including but not limited to Discord bots, MailChimp, and Google Sheets.

Ko-Fi has no API to offer, which means you can’t add Ko-Fi everywhere. It is not supported by developers. Instead, they offer JavaScript-driven buttons that you can add on your websites and pages. There is direct support for WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, but that’s about it. You need to create a free Ko-fi page which you can share using the direct link or by embedding the button code on your website. Lack of API is something that will scare web and app developers in my opinion.

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Patreon also takes the lead when it comes to mobile apps. There is a dedicated app for the Android and iOS platform so you can view and manage your subscriptions and projects on the go. Ko-Fi, as of this writing, has no mobile apps to offer, which is limiting.

What if I want to monetize my app with Ko-Fi or Patreon? Both the platform falls short in this area, which makes little sense considering the popularity of apps these days.

Winner: Patreon

2. Rates

This can be a deal breaker for many creators, especially those who are just starting out and can’t afford high fees. Both Ko-Fi and Patreon use PayPal as their default payment processors, so that’s it.

PayPal is not cheap and charges fees based on where you live. In the US, you will pay 2.9% + $ 0.30 for transaction fees. Unfortunately, currency conversion charges are up for debate because you always get 2-3% lower than market rates when using PayPal (personal experience). So there is a fixed fee $ 1 charged if you receive payments in foreign currency. If you are using Virtual Terminal or PayPal Payments Pro to manage your subscriptions, you will pay an additional $ 10 per month. Besides PayPal, Patreon also supports Stripe, which is not cheaper but definitely more developer friendly.

Read: How much does PayPal charge per transaction in India

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Now, in addition to what your payment processor is charging you, you must pay Patreon 5% of the amount that you have been promised. We are talking about the total monthly amount here. To withdraw this money from your Patreon account to PayPal, you will be charged $ 0.25 for direct deposits which are available in the US only. International users will have to use PayPal, which will cost $ 0.25 or 1% of the total amount with an upper limit of $ 20 per deposit. See how these costs can add up quickly?

Ko-Fi is free. What? Yes. Ko-Fi is free, which means you don’t have to pay them anything to create your page and collect money from fans and followers. Note that Ko-Fi also uses PayPal to process payments, so those charges are separate. On the free account, you can only accept one-time payments, popularly known as tips. If you want to receive subscription payments, there is Ko-Fi Gold, which will cost you a fixed $ 6 per month.

It goes without saying that Ko-Fi is much cheaper than Patreon because a) there is a free account and b) $ 6 is much cheaper than 5%, especially if you have a large user base. Keep in mind that you pay $ 6 regardless of what you are earning, but in the long run, you will end up saving a lot of cash.

Finally, Patreon pays once a month and Ko-Fi pays instantly whenever you want.

Winner: Co-Fi

3. Features

While the fee structure and platform integration are important, they are not the only thing that matters when deciding on a platform to launch your business. Switching platforms after your business has taken off can be problematic and, in most cases, impossible. Can you imagine having to ask all your fans and followers to change their subscriptions and adopt a new model? You can end up losing a lot of followers in the process, leading to a possible drop in your income. So, let’s see how Patreon justifies its higher fee structure, if at all.

Patreon comes with a level structure where you can promise a certain amount to your favorite creator and you will get rewarded for the same. Ko-Fi does not offer a reward structure. Upgrading to the Gold account allows you to fix whatever you want to charge, unlike the free account, which is set to $ 3. Patreon has a base price of $ 1 and there is no upper limit.

If you create different levels of content, Patreon is more suitable for you. There is an incentive for followers to go to the next level and pay more on subscription. At Ko-Fi, there is no incentive for you to create a consistent level of content. This will depend on your creative field and what you have to offer.

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Patreon has a small percentage of fake supporters. Let me explain. Sponsors, or supporters, promise money for a month and get access to virtually everything on the page. Then they go ahead and cancel the promised money. While the percentage of these freeloaders is small, it still exists, as several creators pointed out. At Ko-Fi, the money is paid directly to the creator, eliminating the opportunity to take advantage of it. This problem is commonly known as Dine and Dash in the community of patrons.

Patreon does not accept tips like Ko-Fi. Patreon also appears to have a larger user base, which is a bonus because it gives you a market to showcase your content. If you have a niche, Patreon likely already has a following, ready to commit. Patreon needs the commitment that you will produce a certain amount of content each month based on your tier and rewards. Ko-Fi has lower engagement levels, allowing creators to follow a more flexible schedule.

Both Patreon and Ko-Fi will allow you to communicate with your followers, build a community, and keep them engaged.

If something happens to Patreon or if they make changes that are not in your best interest, you risk losing everything. Something similar has happened in the past with YouTube creators. Something similar also happened on Patreon when various creators lost subscribers at an alarming rate because they decided to change your fee structure. Although Ko-Fi has a clear track record in this regard, things can change at any time, so keep that in mind. Just say.

Result: Necktie

Ko-Fi vs. Patreon

Here’s the deal. Both Patreon and Ko-Fi are on a collision course competing for creators’ attention. There are some characteristics that are similar in nature and some that are not. Patreon has a larger user base, supports more platforms, and is better suited for tiered subscription payments and rewards. That said, not only is it expensive with a 5% cut, it will also display ads.

Ko-Fi is flexible and supports subscription and one-time payments, but without tiers or rewards. You can create subscription-only content on the Gold plan. Ko-Fi is free to use if you want to receive one-time payments in the form of tips and the Gold plan is only $ 6 / mo. No ads on the Ko-Fi platform.

In the end, they both offer a way to monetize your fanbase and act as a supplemental rather than primary source of income. This is not to say that there are examples of creators making a living solely on the strength of their followers on a single platform, but they are few. Most creators have a YouTube channel, website, blog, or some other platform where they had a following and wanted an additional way to earn some money. Think of them as a way to add more baskets to hold your eggs.

So which one are you using or planning to use and why? Did we lose something?

Read: 7 Best Small Business Accounting Software (Free and Paid)

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