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Patreon vs. Ko-fi: Which is Creators' Choice?


Posted at:06/04/2021


In an era of information explosion, content is not something that bars us. Instead, people look for quality and meaningful content that serve their purposes. In similar vein, content creators look for a thriving community who happen to appreciate their content/work/creation.

Ko-fi and Patreon, are two of the platforms that connect the two sides allowing content creators to reach out to their audience and monetize their content.

In the article, I will elaborate the difference between Ko-fi and Patreon from creators' perspective. Hopefully, it could provide some insights to creators who struggle between two.

  1. What are Patreon and Ko-fi?
  2. Ko-fi Better Than Patreon – Revenue Diversification  
  3. Ko-fi Better Than Patreon – No Commission Taken
  4. Ko-fi Better Than Patreon – Instant Cashout
  5. Patreon Better Than Ko-fi – Established Monthly Subscription Model
  6. Patreon Better Than Ko-fi – Integration and Compatibility  
  7. Key Takeaways

1. What are Patreon and Ko-fi? 

Pateron and Ko-fi are both established with an aim to help creator receive income by delivering content or work.

Adopting a subscription-based membership, Pateron was set up especially for creators who contribute content on a regularly basis. Since its launch, they have accumulated 6 million patrons as their users and more than 200,000 creators.

To the contrary, the whole idea of Ko-fi can be depicted through its icon – fuel creativity with a cup of coffee whereby users can spend the price of a coffee to support creators. Ko-fi boats of over 500,000 creators, and creators on Ko-fi have received over $40 million annually through Ko-fi.

Key differences are identified:




Fees and Pricing for Creators

5-12% + around 3% payment processing fees

0%-5% + around 3% payment processing fees


$6/ month or $4.5/ month for a yearly membership (Gold membership)

Cashout Method for creators

Via Stripe, PayPal, and Payoneer;

Manual withdrawal or Automatic payment (monthly)

Instant and direct payment to creators

Revenue Channels of Creators

From supporters’ monthly subscription


From supporters’ subscription, fundraising, sales of products/ services


Integration with sites such as Discord, WordPress, Streamlabs, Mailchimp and ConvertKit; Easier to promote on different social media accounts

Ko-fi button or link can be added to tumblr, WordPress widget area, page, Instagram bio.


For Creators who

  • Offer membership plans
  • Value “integration”
  • Are of regular commitment 
  • Prefer to fundraise, open shop for selling digital and physical products
  • prefer to receive commissions for one off services 

2. Ko-fi Better Than Patreon – Revenue Diversification 

While Patreon offers only membership-tier options, Ko-fi allows creators to receive donation, sell products, take subscription and offer services. Creators can have greater flexibility and freedom to earn a fortune. For instance, creators could initiate a project or crowdfunding campaign on Ko-fi. Creators could also sell digital and physical products or produce a customised work for the buyer.

Homepage where creators can set a goal, offer personalised work and open a shop

In other words, creators are able to deliver their one-time service or work, or even to raise fund on Ko-fi (some functions are available for Ko-fi Gold, see below), which are functions not even supported or allowed on Patreon. 


3. Ko-fi Better Than Patreon – No Commission Taken

While Patreon takes 5%-12% cut of the creators’ earnings, no or only nominal fee is taken by Ko-fi. The edge of Ko-fi is self-explanatory.

Without a percentage-based fee mechanism like on Patreon, Ko-fi has introduced "Ko-fi Gold". Contributing $6 per month (or $4.5/ month for a yearly membership), creators can retain 100% of their earnings through commission sales and shop sales on Ko-fi except for payment processing fees. For those who have no Gold membership, 5% platform fee is levied on commission and shop sales. Details can be found below.

Patreon's Pricing

Fees Comparison 

Ko-fi Gold Subscription Offerings

4. Ko-fi Better Than Patreon – Instant Cashout

The money can be paid directly to the creator from the contributor on Ko-fi while the monthly subscription fees are received by Patreon and paid to creators afterwards. As Patreon retains commission, money received will not immediately go to creators’ bank but it requires a processing step.

Also, there is no minimum balance requirement on Ko-fi while it requires $10 - $25 (depends on whether you are US-creators) minimum to be able to pay out on Patreon. The threshold is not unacceptably high. Whether it is a significant consideration can vary from creator to creator.


5. Patreon Better Than Ko-fi – Established Recurring Monthly Subscription Model

While both are serving all kinds of creators including but not limited to bloggers, artists, podcasters, developers, cosplayers, Patreon could have a more established reputation in terms of monthly subscription content.

While one of the edges of Ko-fi is its flexibility in terms of content delivery, Patreon has a narrower yet more focused target audience. Admittedly it requires greater and higher level of commitment from creators' perspective, it could cultivate a routine of interaction between creators and Patrons. For instance, the recurring subscription model works well for many subject matter experts like Irshad Karim and Martin Berkhan. Their expertise and knowledge delivered incentivize membership. Such a monthly subscription model is still favoured by a significant group of people, and that explains why Patreon boats of millions of users.


6. Patreon Better Than Ko-fi – Integration and Compatibility  

Ko-fo does not have an API to integrate with other platforms while Patreon supports “membership” across websites so far. Patreon works perfectly with sites such as Discord, WordPress, Zapier where creators can extend Patreon membership onto their sites and operate special features and member-only content on other sites. Also, it is compatible with other tools for management and analysis. Creator Metrics and MailChimp are a few examples in point.

Ko-fi, on the other hand, supports different sites and apps such as YouTube and WordPress in a direct way. Through embedding a button code or link, you can integrate it with them. People who feel resonated with your video can simply click onto the button and make a direct donation. Yet, the lack of an API disenables you to connect it to other sites of your choice.

Integation tools/ compatible sites on Ko-fi

Tools, Apps and Resources on Patreon 

7. Key Takeaways





  • More concentrated and narrower audience who favour “monthly subscription” model
  • Easy-to-use interface and more comprehensive website/app integration
  • 0% commission
  • Greater flexibility and more available features (e.g. allows selling products, fundraise, donation)


  • Percentage-based fee mechanism of 8% -15% cut
  • Less features (e.g. inability to provide tips or fundraise)
  • No mobile app (they are building it!
  • Limited website/app integration

If you hate commitment and prefer to gain money through fundraising, receiving tips, selling work or producing content on an irregular basis, Ko-fi is your only and best choice. However, if you wish to build a membership-tier plan and deliver content regularly in a special niche, both fit your purpose (Patreon could work better in terms of site integration). While the ultimate goal of most creators is profit-earning, Ko-fi wins for its 0% commission on your earnings and the large user base