Who takes the biggest cut on donations?

A question for @laurent

Up until today I used to make an annual donation to Joplin, via Paypal, equivalent to what I used to pay for my Evernote Plus subscription. To me that seemed fair for what I was getting out of your work.

Today I decided to convert that to a monthly Patreon payment. I just thought that regular income for Joplin would be a better option.

It was only afterwards that I started to wonder who takes the biggest cut. So what gives Joplin the biggest return for any funds donated; a direct PayPal payment or a Patreon monthly payment?

I am not expecting a detailed answer. Something like PayPal, Patreon, Same would be perfectly adequate :slight_smile:

As an aside I would also to encourage those who have never donated or those who haven't donated for a long time to reflect upon what value they are getting from Joplin and think about whether it is worth throwing a few dollars / pounds / <insert your currency here> in Joplin's direction.

(Note: This is a serious question regarding what gives the better return on donations. Also I have not been encouraged to post this by anyone. It is a personal opinion that those who commit a lot of their own time to provide something I find good and useful should get some funding to enable them to carry on their excellent work.)


Lmao. I can vouch for this unlike the other day. :joy:

But, in all seriousness, this would definitely be important to me, since i plan on doing something similar since it's so far cut out at least two subscriptions for me.

Thanks for your support @dpoulton, that's always very much appreciated.

Good question, I've never looked into it before. Based on recent payments, PayPal seems to take on average 5%, while Patreon takes a total of 12%. It's more for Patreon because they have a flat 5% fee plus a variable "processing fee", which is to process the payments from the patrons, and in average it seems to be around 7% for me.

For now GitHub Sponsor has no fees but they will add processing fees in May, so it will probably be around 5-7% too.

I guess Patreon provides an added value, which is the recurring payments, and many people already have an account so there's nothing to setup is they want to support one more creator. There's also the gamification aspect of watching the monthly total increase :sweat_smile: So really it's up to you, of course I appreciate any form of support!


@laurent, do you know if conversion rates would affect this too? Despite being in the US, I have a secondary bank account with conversion fee free transactions for any purchases in the EU, since that account is hosted in Germany.

Conversion rates would indeed affect the fee too. Payments within the EU I think don’t have any conversion fees.

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Ouch, 12%!!

I'm in the UK and, as Patreon charges in USD, Paypal includes its conversion fee in the exchange rate, it also adds 20% VAT so a $5 payment costs $6, $10 costs $12 etc.

That's how I looked at it. Just because something is free to use doesn't mean it's free to create; GitHub fees, signing certificate fees and probably fees for things I have never considered. I had previously paid a certain amount of money per year for Evernote, a good product but one which I had no control over and with an editor that seemed designed to mangle my notes, and now I did not have to pay for it. Also just because Joplin was free to me it did not mean it had no value to me. I realised that if I threw a bit of cash towards Joplin I was no worse off than I was before.

I will stop now because I do not want to make this some kind of funding request. It isn't. It's just a post asking people who use and abuse Joplin to ask themselves, "What is this worth to me?".

à votre santé


Fair point. Of course, maybe @laurent can check into something for users more local like what Tipeeestream does for Twitch Streamers, where it offers international options too to reduce the overall fees

I would strongly suggest to let users donate via wire-transfer, no fees, no delays, no support to big data rakes. This may not be an option for some continents, but within the EU it works just fine.
All projects I support (some 25-30 on an annual basis accept wire.

Do you have an example of project that does this? Just wondering how it works - they just put their bank details on the website, or do they use a third-party service? (although I guess if there's a third-party, there are fees again)

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I have seen cases where the developer publishes their IBAN onlline (examples: add-on "decentraleyes" for FF), I assume they created a free IBAN with a local bank, not used for anything else. It's hard to see how this could be abused.
I have had other cases where they just said wire transfer possible, and I needed to contact them for the bank details (example add-on Noscript for FF).
Let me know if you need more details.

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For reference, here is the decentealeyes donation page

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Nobody can do anything with your account info, except transfer money to you. There's no security risk at all.

While in general I agree, the risk is low, this statement is incorrect. SEPA has loopholes, one of them being that banks assume approval signature of the account holder BUT do not check it other then randomly at best. Therefor the requirement for checking your account. The banks rely on you to do their work.

For what? You can't walk into a bank with just a bank account number and take money out of it.

Update: and neither can you do that electronically.

I guess you could set up a direct debit with someone else's account info. But just IBAN would not be enough for this, at least in the UK.

@tessus, I don't know why we have this discussion. I tried it when Sepa got intro, and yes, for a simple Sepa debit (bank to bank) all your bank requires is name and account number. They assume the debtor holds the creditor's signature for approval. I tried it with a friend multiple times. So please let us stop this argument.

Because you are wrong. Just for sending money from my own bank account I have to login plus use a TAN (which is sent to a secure app also protected by login credentials) to transfer money.
You tell me you can transfer money from my bank account to another without anything? I'm not sure what you are smoking.
If that were true, all our accounts would already have a zero balance.

A few comments above there is the bank info of Decentraleyes. Let's see, if you can take money out of there.

Even at the bank backend systems there are audits in place. I know, because I had access to them. e.g. you can't just change the database backend to make a transfer. This does not work.

And of course you do know all this because you worked in the right department of a major bank, AND you can reassure us that it's handled the same way all across Europe and at different banks. Infallible conclusion, you are right, I must be wrong.

The bank audit systems would catch 20 or 200 or 2000 debit operations originating from the Russian federation, not 1 operation from "me", located in Frankfurt. I agree with you up to this point.

What I don't appreciate is that you're coming on very strong, pretending to have "certainty" which nobody can have these days. "Confidence is what you have before you understand the problem", excuse the hell out of me.

And to the moderator: I don't mind if you simply delete these last 5-6 useless responses, no added value to the blog.

PS: why will I not perform the test you proposed ? because the account owner may see it and complain to his bank, which gets me in trouble with my bank. That's why I did the testing with friends. I do not see a need to repeat this.

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I worked for IBM - almost 20 years. I have not been to every single data center of every bank in Europe, but to more than I would have liked. I was in DB2 and many banks use DB2 on mainframe sysplex clusters (or on AIX HACMP) + CICS.
Once again, I do have a problem with the fact that it is a hassle to transfer money from my own account due to all the security requirements, yet, according to you there seems to be a way to circumvent that.
Why do people use online banking then? There is some disconnect somewhere.
Even if that was the case at one point, don't you think they would have plugged that hole?

But forget the test I proposed. Just explain to me how you do it. Where do you enter the bank information? Which application? Which service? In my online banking there's no form where I can enter somebody else's bank account info to take money out of. My online banking only allows me to send money to someone, not to take money out of somebody's account.

Also, you misunderstood. I was not talking about anti-fraud systems. That's another story. I was talking about not being able to just go into the backend database and transfer money this way (besides the fact that 2 phase commit is pretty much used everywhere in banking).

I notice that since my last donation Joplin has added wiretransfer to the donation options. In order to use it one does not just need an IBAN, but also the name of the account holder - just Laurent or Joplin may not work.

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