Aha! Now it makes more sense! This guy (I guess he has a big Patreon, I don’t know) explained it finally:
The problem they have: Patreon charges everyone at the same time, so you don’t get charged right when you sign up. So some people have signed up, gotten their perks, and then cancelled without paying. It also means that tons of people call them saying their charges didn’t go through, or being confused when they get charged two weeks after pledging.
Any normal subscription service charges you the day you sign up and then every month after that on that day.
So they want to fix that, but to do that, they have to have every pledge be a separate charge, which means credit card fees will be outrageous…especially for $1 pledges. Which leads to the problem they’re creating: they need to charge a service fee to offset that new cost to creators (which would be huge) which has led to some patrons freaking out and leaving the platform, and also strongly discourages low-dollar pledges.
Either you keep it as is, with the frustrations and difficulties and BS that they deal with now, or you set it to be a normal subscription service and need to add a fee. Patreon has opted for the second thing, and I have no idea if that’s the right call.
Internally at Patreon, I’m sure they know how annoying and difficult their current problem is, but there’s no way to know how hard this new problem will be. I don’t like the change, but it is not motivated by greed, it’s motivated by a desire to solve a problem.
I /think/ they didn’t [lead by explaining the actual problem they were trying to solve] because their legal department didn’t want it to look like the fees were there to help pay for credit card processing because it is illegal in several states to pass credit card processing fees to consumers. IF YOU WANT AN EXAMPLE OF A VERY BAD LAW
So… people being jerks, plus the actual batching of monthly charges to reduce fees they were already doing was causing customer support problems!