The creator economy continues to soar, and more and more entrepreneurs are looking for ways to monetize their online communities. As such, monetization platforms are on the up, allowing business owners to sell their digital products directly to their fan audience. One such powerful platform is Patreon, which has millions of users.

Lately, a new player has entered the market - Memberful.

Memberful is a new tool that competes with Patreon (in a sense - more on that later). As the two platforms are similar, deciding whether to use Patreon or Memberful can be a difficult choice, as finding the differences between the two can prove time-consuming.

However, they aren't the same, and each platform has its own unique appeal. To give you an insight into the Patreon vs Memberful debate we have compared each platform in great detail.

Keep reading for a comprehensive review of Patreon vs. Memberful and discover which monetization platform is right for you.

What is Patreon?

Patreon homepage

Patreon is a platform that gives creators the tools to engage with and make money from their community through memberships and digital products. The platform was created in May 2013 by musician Jack Conte and developer Sam Yam. Conte wanted a way to make money from his YouTube videos and came up with the idea for Patreon.

getting started on Patreon

As described by the platform, Patreon is "the best place to build community with your biggest fans, share exclusive work, and turn passion into a lasting creative business." Creators use Patreon to share all types of content (videos, blogs, podcasts, art, music, recipes, etc.) with their most passionate fans. The site doesn't use ads or algorithms, so nothing disrupts the genuine connection between the creator and their fans.

Not only does Patreon offer an exclusive community and a way to engage with personalized audiences, but it is also a revenue-generating platform. Creators typically ask fans to pay a monthly fee to access the exclusive community. For example, a podcaster might release their podcast episodes on a streaming network where everyone can listen for free. But, they might save some episodes to be exclusively released on Patreon. Fans who support the podcaster and pay a fee to join the Patreon community get access to these additional episodes.

What is Memberful?

memberful homepage

Memberful is a membership management platform, offering membership software for 'independent creators, publishers, educators, podcasters, + more'.

Memberful was created in 2013 by former football player Drew Strojny. After a few years of learning coding and building WordPress themes for clients, Strojny discovered a need for his clients to charge recurring fees, like a membership, to regular customers. And that's how Memberful was born.

Getting started on memberful

Memberful is also a monetized platform offering independent creators a way to monetize their passion. This all-in-one platform describes its service as allowing "your most passionate followers to support your work in minutes, using a membership software that takes care of the hard stuff."

Memberful offers a fully hosted membership website (optional) and easy ways to engage with your community. Memberful customers include the podcast network Gimlet Media, tech blogger Ben Thompson, and former Bon Appetit cooking star Molly Maz.

Patreon vs. Memberful

Patreon and Memberful are both platforms that allow you to monetize your community. Patreon is a widely recognized platform for creators to build communities and offer exclusive content, charging fans a monthly fee, while Memberful integrates into a creator’s existing website for a more branded experience, allowing for direct membership management with varied fee structures.

Interestingly enough, Patreon acquired Memberful in August 2018. The company states it sees the differences between the two platforms as distinct enough that it's not cannibalizing its own market. These platforms have two different offerings - once a creator understands how both work, they should easily understand which platform is right for them.

So, let's take a closer look at what each membership platform offers.


Initially, you can start a Patreon account for free. This allows you to get the account set up and content uploaded before you open the paid membership offering to your fans. After generating revenue, you'll have to choose which Patreon account you want. A Pro account costs 8% of all your earnings on Patreon, and a Premium account costs 12% of your earnings. You can switch your plan at any time in your Patreon profile.

You can also try a Memberful account for free, in test mode, for as long as you'd like. However, as soon as you want to turn your membership on, you must select a Memberful plan. There are three plan options:

  • Starter: $0 monthly plus 10% transaction fee
  • Pro: $25 monthly plus 4.9% transaction fee
  • Premium: $100 monthly plus 4.9% transaction fee

Memberful allows you to change the type of plan you're on at any time.


Let's take a look at the different benefits that each platform provides.

Memberful has many of the same services as Patreon, but Memberful allows creators to integrate this platform into their existing web presence. Essentially, creators and entrepreneurs can offer their fans memberships under their own brand and use their own payment processor account. They don't have to say, "Support me on Patreon." They get to direct people to their own branded website. It feels like a more direct connection between fans and creators, with Memberful hidden and working in the background.

But Patreon is a fantastic option, too. Firstly, Patreon is more publicly recognized, so people understand what it means to support someone's Patreon. They are less likely to worry about inputting their credit card information into a Patreon form. (Although Memberful is backed by Stripe and is very secure.)

Both Patreon and Memberful allow fans to join at different subscription levels, with different benefits and pricing.


As of January 2024, Patreon has a 4.1 out of five-star rating from 61 reviews on G2. The top complaint is typically around fees being too high.

Memberful has a 4.4 out of five-star rating from 31 reviews on G2. The most common complaints were business owners wanting more integrations with other platforms and more analytics. Both are seen favorably by business owners and are almost tied for reviews.

Patreon and Memberful Alternatives

Are there other options besides Patreon and Memberful? As it happens, yes! You can check out this list for a bunch of great Patreon alternatives if you want to, but we’ll come right out and say that you should consider Whop as the best option for digital creators. Whop is a platform for creators and entrepreneurs that offers top-notch control over your membership options, and it’s completely free to use! Let's take a quick look at what Whop offers.

  • Whop is more like Patreon than Memberful in that it doesn’t offer a fully hosted site, but getting yourself listed on an active digital marketplace like Whop has plenty of advantages in terms of discoverability. Whop is also extremely flexible when it comes to pricing, offering an extremely low 3% per sale fee with a standard seller account and bespoke pricing options for enterprise vendors.
  • In terms of membership services, Whop allows you to set up any sort of membership tier structure you want, include flat fees and donations, and even sell digital products (like downloadables and software) from the same page. Plus, Whop is also focused on being an all-in-one platform for creators, meaning that you’re not just getting the ability to set up and track memberships. Whop hosts your membership or store page, serves as your Merchant of Record (thereby taking on all liabilities on transactions), carries out digital fulfillment, and even takes care of customer service on your behalf.
  • As for reviews, Whop outranks both Memberful and Patreon in that department. While Whop isn’t listed on G2 (yet) it does have a rating of 4.7 (Excellent) on Trustpilot with 236 reviews and counting.
Platform Pricing Overview Key Features User Ratings
Patreon 8% (Pro) or 12% (Premium) of earnings Exclusive community, direct fan engagement 4.1/5 (G2)
Memberful $0/month + 10% (Starter), $25/month + 4.9% (Pro) Integrates with existing websites 4.4/5 (G2)
Whop $0/month + 3% per sale Marketplace listing, all-in-one platform 4.7/5 (Trustpilot)

Information as correct on 10th January, 2024

Why Do Creators and Entrepreneurs Use Membership Services?

The obvious answer here is that membership services are a revenue-generating stream. Often, entrepreneurs and creators have to get creative in the ways they make money. And if you have a following of supportive fans, there's no reason not to tap into them for financial support.

Payments that creators receive from various platforms through basic monetization schemes like page ads can be quite limited. If you’re a YouTuber, for instance, you might only make a few dollars per thousand views on your videos. A single paying member would actually eclipse that figure.

There are other reasons, too. One ex-Patreon customer shared that as their podcast grew, they had more requests from sponsors looking to advertise, and they were paid thousands for this opportunity. However, the growing number of ads began to feel like it was taking away from the integrity of the podcast. The writer noted that they themselves had stopped listening to NPR when the podcast started to have too many ads. That is where a membership service can help. You don't have to drown your fans in ads. Instead, you offer them your content in its pure form, and they financially reciprocate by joining your paid community. It's a win-win.

Whop, Patreon or Memberful: Which One is Right For You?

Ultimately, no matter if you go with Memberful or Patreon, you get the power of Patreon behind you. Since the acquisition of Memberful, Patreon has shared that it will continue to allow Memberful to be its own product and service. There is a commitment to building Memberful more and more, as it serves a different need and customer base.

Memberful is seen as the "white label" option for creator membership services. If you want to keep tight control of your branding, Memberful is likely the better option for you. However, if this is less important to you, a Patreon can be beneficial as you'll tie your community to a globally recognized brand. In comparison, Memberful is not as well-known. And, it likely will never have that much brand recognition as end-users don't sign up for a Memberful account, only the business owner does.

Whop is a fantastic alternative for both! Even though it doesn’t have the same level of brand recognition (yet!), Whop takes a much smaller bite out of your membership revenue. At just 3%, Whop charges a lot less than Patreon (8% Pro/12% Premium) or Memberful (10% Starter/4.9% + flat fee with Pro and Premium). Whop also gives you more discoverability via a marketplace listing, a whole lot of security when it comes to payments, and top-notch customer service. While Memberful and Patreon are both great options for membership services, Whop is even better.

👉 Launch your paid community with Whop today for a platform that helps you and your business thrive. It takes less than 10 minutes to get started on Whop - what are you waiting for?