Flattr vs Brave Rewards, comparing micro-transaction service fees

There was a surprising amount of interest in last month’s article where I discussed the fees for the micro-transaction service Flattr and compared them with the fees at Patreon. I’m following up that article by comparing Flattr to Brave Rewards, a service who is a service that more closely is trying to compete with Flattr.

Brave and Flattr are two services that both want you to voluntarily pay a monthly fee to fund the web’s many creators and publishers. Each promise to automatically divide up your monthly subscription fee and share it among the creators and website you’ve spent the most time within your web browser.

There are two main differences between the two services:

  1. Brave Rewards is limited to only pay out per domain, e.g. medium.com, whereas Flattr can reward individual creators on many platforms for sharing creative works (YouTube, Medium, Vimeo, GitHub, SoundCloud, Twitch, etc.) in addition to pages with a special meta tag and domains.
  2. Brave Rewards only work with its own crypto-currency whereas Flattr works with regular credit cards and good old fashioned money.

Brave Rewards have moved away from its reliance on Bitcoin and instead focus on their own Basic Attention Token crypto-currency/token. That is to say, you can still fund your contributions on Brave with Bitcoins – but they’ll be automatically converted to BAT at a transaction fee. Calculating transaction fees for Brave can be hard as its so damned difficult to give them any money. I’ve chosen to use a credit card payment through Brave’s recommended crypto-currency market Uphold for the fee calculation examples below. This is the most convenient method for making payments using Brave and also the same method as Flattr uses.

Fees for micro-transaction services
Service Payment Fee estimate Paid to creators
Brave (Uphold) 5 USD (one-time) 3,57 USD (71,40 %)1 1,43 USD
Flattr (after ) 5 USD (5 USD/monthly) 0,5 USD (10 %)2 4,5 USD
Flattr (before ) 5 USD (5 USD/monthly) 0,825 USD (16,50 %)2 4,175 USD
Brave (Uphold) 50 USD (prepaid 10 months) 7,08 USD (14,16 %)1 42,92 USD
Flattr (after ) 50 USD (5 USD/monthly) 5 USD (10 %)2 45,00 USD
Flattr (before ) 50 USD (5 USD/monthly) 8,25 USD (16,50 %)2 41,75 USD

Update (): The above table was updated to reflect Flattr’s new fee structure.

So, there’s something strange going on with Brave Rewards through Uphold. Their fee structure clearly isn’t meant for micro-transactions. Uphold, the currency exchange service recommended by Brave, requires a minimum credit card transaction of at least 50 USD or 75 EUR.

If we break down the fees that Brave and Uphold charge; we find conversion, transaction, and withdrawal fees from Uphold of 1 % + 2.99 USD + 3 BAT3 + 1,95 % and finally the 5 % fee charged by Brave. This fee structure explains the lower costs at higher transfer amounts.

In comparison, after , Flattr’s payment provider would charge a flat fee of 10 %. Half of which goes to their payment processor. You can play with the figures yourself and see how much each flattr is worth and how much you’re paying in fees with the Flattr contributor-value and fee calculator.

Before , Flattr would keep a 7,5 % for themselves plus a flat 9 % transaction fee, which works better for smaller amounts but adds up quickly for higher amounts.

The longer time commitment and initial cost to adopt Brave Rewards can be off-putting compared to Flattr’s smaller monthly payments. The volatility of crypto-currencies doesn’t fill me with confidence when it comes to prepaying for services almost a full year in advance. It’s much harder to accurately predict the exact value your payments will have to creators and publishers when using Brave as your 50 USD today likely won’t be worth 50 USD in ten days – let alone ten months.

I made a fee calculator for Flattr in a couple of minutes. However, I wouldn’t even attempt to create such a calculator for Brave Rewards as there are too many variables and too much uncertainty involved in their payment scheme.

Despite Brave being slightly cheaper in the long run, I’d recommend that people use Flattr instead. You’re paying a little extra for the convenience of using a credit card and predictable payment terms, but you’re also getting a service that’s more flexible and can benefit more creators and publishers than Brave. Plus, you get to keep your existing web browser instead of having to switch to the Brave browser.