Patreon Enters Crisis Mode as Contributions Unexpectedly Tank

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There’s some seriously bad news for anyone reliant upon Patreon donations.

Patreon has long served as a creative alternative to traditional crowd-sourcing platforms.  It’s also offered a welcomed change from YouTube’s bottom-scraping revenues.

The way it works is simple.  In lieu of flat donations for an individual project, creators on Patreon receive smaller, recurring payments from their loyal followers.  It’s a model that’s more sustainable for creators and gives them significantly more flexibility to pursue their passions.

It also allows artists to adapt to creative and practical whims rather than being tethered to specified benchmarks and features.

Patreon has grown to become one of the preeminent crowdsourcing platforms in just four years, but a convergence of issues with the platform is causing many subscribers to become angry with the company.

As of August 1st, an inordinate number of Patreon users are seeing their payments being unexpectedly declined.

Given how many of these creators rely on Patreon to make a living, it’s a worrying development.  Two issues seem to be responsible for the sudden decline in payments: changes to the company’s internal policies and banking problems.

While occasional declines in payments are expected with this model, some creators have seen as much as a 50% drop in the money they’ve received for the month of July.

Many of the payments in question are being incorrectly flagged as fraudulent.  And while the exact reasoning behind these issues is still ambiguous, speculations have run wild.

The most prevalent theory is that a move by Patreon from U.S. to U.K. banking servers is to blame for these discrepancies.

Patreon’s initial response was to tell users to contact their clients directly, but as the scope of the situation became apparent, they sent out a message on public media.  This Twitter message informed their subscribers that Patreon would “work with payment providers to improve payment cycles.”

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At present, there’s no word as to when exactly the situation will be resolved, but Patreon is regularly updating subscribers on what’s happening through their Twitter account.

Update: Patreon now says they’re resolving the payment errors, while emailing patrons whose payments were declined.  So it looks like this crisis is slowly being averted.   

Here’s the latest update from Patreon:

“hi all — a quick update for you. we’re able to confirm that we’re seeing normal successful payment processing rates. we’ll continue retrying any declined payments throughout the month, as we always do, and we don’t collect fees for declined transactions.”



One Response

  1. NoMoreBS

    Hey, just to let you know, they have not fixed this issue, and it’s actually worse… Yesterday, my bank locked my account. It caused alllll kinds of issues for me, like my cell phone payment being declined, which shut my service off… Just as I had a major car issue, & couldn’t even call for help as my accelerator stuck while entering the highway. Thankfully, even after putting it in Neutral, & thank GOD I didn’t hit anyone or anything, it let up after 3-4 min, on its own. But, I still had to continue to at least the bank, bc I had no other phone, & the bank was same distance as home when it happened. Anyway, when I arrived at the bank, shaking & upset, lol, I was told it was Patreon charge, that was STILL being billed from the UK. Still being denied, then rebilled from California, that set off the fraud alert, again for the 4th month in a row, so this time, they locked the card until I called. In my case, though, bc my phone payment was declined, I had to go to the bank. They fixed it by calling the fraud Dept. And as of 10am yesterday, they had already received 3 calls from customers with the same exact issue, stemming from the same exact problem with Patreon. This is Bank of America, not a small fraud Dept I’m sure, and for them to say that, it had to effect a LOT of people. Yet, look on Twitter, and aside from maybe 2 recent threads where Creator at Patreon was tagged in it, you can’t find anything about this! I even had a creator say it must be something I DID! I must have messed with a setting, or something, bc none of his ten or so subscribers had a problem. And, delted my post about it, saying I’LL scare off his Patreon supporters. I’ve been a supporter on Patreon for 2 yrs now, longer than even that creator. I Know what I’m doing. I also know what the bank said. I knew it wasn’t me. At this point, I’m beyond disgusted, and if it wasn’t for the creators I have supported for the last 2 yrs, I’d close my account, without even blinking an eye. But, there are at least 3 creators I absolutely love and hate to leave bc Patreon can’t get THEIR shit together. I also read a comment that asked Patreon to stop deleting tweets about this. And, other creators saying they lost 20% of their subscribers when this happens. Four months, and still nothing is fixed, at all.