The creator economy has been on the rise, with various types of creator platforms springing up almost every day to provide a supporting platform for all types of content out there. A creator platform is nothing but a place for creators to monetize their content by building a fan following through subscriptions.
Creator platforms give creators the ability to use the latest technologies and tools to create their content and sell on creator platforms. It connects users with buyers and facilitates the transaction. The major revenue model on these creator platforms is subscriptions.
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Content platforms do provide multiple ways for the creators to monetize their content, but the majority of the revenue comes from subscription billing. Subscription billing is a charging method employed by merchants to charge users on a recurring basis automatically. Users pay subscriptions to access the latest content rather than buying services that might go outdated soon. Subscription billing provides businesses with near-guaranteed income, as payment is automatically collected at fixed intervals.
Advantages of subscription billing
- It helps in attracting more customers as users prefer to pay a small amount every month rather than a one-time big amount.
- It helps businesses in earning predictable revenue through monthly subscriptions.
- Subscriptions help in building trust with customers and make them stay for longer durations, which helps in increasing the return on investment to get those customers.
- It increases the chances to cross-sell more products and content to the existing subscribed customers.
- It is easier to coax users to turn into customers by providing free trials of the services offered.
How subscription billing model works on creator platform
Recurring or subscription billing is usually a monthly payment that users pay to gain access to the content or services provided by creators. This monthly subscription is usually automatically charged on the user’s card that is pre-approved. Users prefer to keep subscriptions automated to skip the hassle of making payments every month for their favorite content.
Once the subscription is billed and received by the admin or owner of the platform, they have to process the payment and then pay the creator their share. The admin calculates the commission on the earnings made by the creator and then processes the remaining amount to the creator’s account.
Now any creator platform has a lot of creators selling content on its platform, which makes the task of manually splitting the payments and processing them to the creator’s account a very tedious task for the admin of the business. To avoid this and keep away human errors, most creator platforms now prefer to have payment processors that split payments at the source automatically.
Split payments on creator platforms
To make it easier to manage and distribute payments, payment gateways make use of tech that splits payments directly at the source. This reduces the hassles of manually processing and splitting payouts for the creators by the admin of the content platform.
For instance, let’s say on a creator platform, the admin is charging a commission of 20% on the subscription earnings made by a creator. That means whenever any user makes a payment of $100 for a subscription, then the payment gateway will split the payment at their end and process $80 to the creator’s account and $20 to the admin’s account.
Advantages of split payment gateways:
- It saves the time and effort of the admin to manage the payments, which can be prone to human errors.
- Split payment gateways are less prone to error than humans and save you from tallying your revenue again due to errors.
- Admins don’t need to worry about which mode the user is paying through, as the split payment gateway will accept diverse methods of payment.
- Admins can easily revert, refund, or adjust transactions as per the need through split payment gateways.
- Split payment gateways offer the option of pre-authorization that saves admins of payment gateway charges in case of order cancellation, returns, or refunds.
List of payment gateways supporting split payments
Not every payment gateway provides the split payment option to businesses. There are only a handful of payment gateways supporting this feature.
- Stripe Connect
- Braintree Marketplace
Choosing the right payment gateway for your online marketplace is the most important task that needs your full attention. As the revenue and all transactions on your marketplace are going to be handled by the payment gateway, it’s necessary to understand which type of payment gateway account will work best for your business. Stripe offers multiple accounts like Stripe Standard, Stripe Custom, and Stripe Express.
Stripe Standard accounts are best for platforms where buyers directly do transactions with the sellers. It is the easiest of the Stripe accounts to administrate and integrate and doesn’t charge any platform fees.
Stripe Custom accounts provide businesses with a white label solution that gives full control over the user experience. It requires time and effort to set up and also needs vast development resources. This account is best for large marketplaces like Amazon and has platform fees attached to it.
Express accounts are a hybrid model where the business owner can customize some of the aspects of the gateway, while Stripe takes care of the rest like onboarding, account management, and verification. It charges a platform fee but takes less time to implement.
Stripe Connect Charges
Stripe connect offers three types of charges that can be chosen depending on your business model and buyer funnel.
Direct charges occur when the transactions are handled directly between the buyer and the seller. Sellers create their own Stripe accounts and handle transactions directly. This model works best with a Stripe Standard account.
This model enables the marketplace to accept payment, manage fees, and transfer money to vendors. Destination charges mostly work well with Custom and Express accounts.
Separate Charges and Transfers
This model is similar to Destination charges and works well with both Custom and Express accounts. The big advantage is that it allows marketplaces to split payments and make transfers to multiple accounts.
Braintree Marketplace is a part of the Braintree payment suite that helps merchants in an easy splitting of payments between different vendors on their marketplace. It automatically calculates the admin commission on all sales made through the gateway and splits the revenue between admin and vendor accounts immediately.
Braintree Marketplace is a comparatively new gateway that is in direct competition with giants like Stripe and Paypal. Some popular websites using Braintree payment API are TaskRabbit, Boxed, HotelTonight, and StubHub. Braintree provides users with the flexibility to split payments based on dynamic dollar rates, which means the service charges can differ from transaction to transaction.
It offers new clients free gateway charges for the first $50000 made through sales using Braintree Marketplace. It charges a standard 2.59% + $0.49 per transaction through cards and digital wallets.
Mangopay is a well-known payment technology that supports various marketplaces, crowdfunding platforms, and e-retailer businesses. It’s flexible in letting you create the payment flow to suit your business needs and integrate various currencies for your platform.
Mangopay automatically splits the revenue based on the admin commission charges that you can set. It directs the money automatically to the vendor’s account while separating the admin share in the admin’s account.
The commission charged by Mangopay is 1.8% + $0.19 per transaction, making it comparatively cheaper than other popular gateways. It supports 11 currencies, including Dollars, Euros, and Pounds.
Paystack is a payment processor developed to exclusively cater to businesses in Africa. Customers of Paystack can pay from anywhere in the world and pay via any medium that is feasible for them.
Paystack comes with advanced fraud protection and provides a detailed dashboard to improve payment services. It also supports split payments and automatically sends payments to the vendor account after deducting the admin share.
Split payments can be made in 2 types on Paystack, i.e., split by percentage or split by a fixed amount. Paystack takes a commission of 1.5% + NGN 100 for each local transaction and 3.9% + NGN 100 for each international transaction.
A well-known and established payment processor, CCBill needs no introduction. CCBill is used all over the world and can be trusted to handle transactions from anywhere in the world. CCBill supports various businesses ranging from low-risk to high-risk businesses.
CCBill can be configured to automatically split payments depending on the set commission rate or a fixed amount to vendor accounts. CCBill is most suitable for the US and Canada markets as well as the Europe region.
The standard pricing of CCBill for no-risk businesses is 3.9% + $0.55, with an additional 2% for recurring transactions. The same pricing goes to 5.9% + $0.55 for high-risk businesses and 10.8% to 14.5% + $1000 yearly charges for the US/Canada market for adult businesses.
Verotel is another well-known name in the payment processor field with expertise in the European market. Verotel lets you create Bitsafe Talent accounts, using which you can automatically split payments between site owners and vendors.
Verotel allows high-risk businesses to avail of their services at a higher premium and accepts all major credit cards and payments in multiple currencies from around the world. Verotel provides 2 pricing plans known as Verotel basic and Verotel Premium.
The rate for Verotel basic is 15.5% per transaction plus 1.5% charges for recurring payments. There is a 500 Euro annual fee that can be waived off if transaction volume is more than 100 Euros every week. Verotel premium charges a rate of 14% + 1.5% for recurring payment. It has no annual fee but charges a 25 Euro fee if transaction volume is less than 1000 Euros.
Comparison chart of payment gateways
|Split payment available?
|Non-adult, low risk
|Europe, Malaysia, US, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore
|2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
|Non-adult, low risk
|US, Canada, Australia, Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong, SAR China, Malaysia, New Zealand
|2.59% + $0.49 per transaction
|Non-adult, low risk
|1.8% + $0.19 per transaction
|Non-adult, low risk
|Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa)
|1.5% + NGN 100 for local transaction
3.9% + NGN 100 for international transaction
|Percentage + Fixed
|3.9% + $0.55 per transaction
|15.5% per transaction
Disadvantages of using the split payment system
Even though the Split payment model is very convenient, especially for creator platforms, it does come with some disadvantages which can be overlooked considering the advantages this system presents.
- Currently, Stripe supports Split payments for marketplaces with accounts in Europe, Malaysia, the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Newzealand, and Singapore.
- Stripe charges a processing fee of 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction for online payments, plus an additional 1% for international transactions.
- Both the marketplace and the seller accounts need to be in the same region to make use of split payments.
- A marketplace that acts as a payment gateway is responsible for refunds, chargebacks, and Stripe fees.
The creator economy has turned out to be a great booster for the masses who depend on creator platforms to make a good living. Any content nowadays can find a place on the various creator platforms available in the market. As the number of creators is increasing day by day, it has become a necessity for the creator platforms to include split payment gateways to make it easy for them to manage their transactions and platform.