We often get emails from users asking “is Kickstarter free”? The short answer is that the Kickstarter platform is free to use until your project is funded.

On Kickstarter projects are only successful if they reach their minimum funding goal. This is called “tipping”.

if your project tips you have to pay Kickstarter a 5% be and also a payment processor fee. The payment processor fee varies depending on the size of the donation received. But roughly they are between three and 5%.

We have created a free Kickstarter calculator that will help you estimate the fees that you have to pay if your project is successful.

it is possible that the fees that you will pay will be different depending on the country in which your project is launched from.

Kickstarter publishes their fee schedule for each country on their website. You can sort the fees and processing fees by country here.

What happens if I don’t reach my funding goal?

One of the great parts of Kickstarter is that if your project fails to reach its goal you do not pay any fees. In this sense, the platform has no upfront cost to the user.

This is beneficial to the creator as it reduces the amount of risk in starting a campaign.

If your project is not successful, your backers will also not be charged.

To reiterate, you are not charged if your project is not successfully funded.

How do I calculate the costs of Kickstarter?

Users on Quora often recommend that you estimate paying the maximum 5% in fees. This ensures you are not surprised by a larger fee payment than what you estimated.

Likely you will have to pay less than you have budgeted.

pie chart fees estimated paid to kickstarter

If you are interested in doing a more detailed calculation, we have created a free Kickstarter fee calculator.

The total amount of fees that you pay to Kickstarter is dependent on the total amount raised, the number of backers for your campaign, and the size of the individual donations.

Is there a less expensive option than Kickstarter?

No matter what crowdfunding platform you use you will have to pay a credit card processing fee.  Kickstarter uses Amazon payments which offers a very competitive rate. It will be very difficult to save any money on the transaction fees.

It is possible to save the fee that you pay Kickstarter for using their service.  You could find another crowdfunding platform, but many of them have a similar fee structure.

Your best bet  is to use your own crowdfunding platform. There are multiple WordPress themes which will help you run a crowdfunding campaign without a platform.  The cost of these themes is around $50.

Using your own platform to crowd-fund can be beneficial as it gives you more control, but you also lose the network effects of using a platform. There have been great examples of crowdfunding campaigns run with and without a major platform.

Conclusion

It’s important to think about the total amount which you will pay Kickstarter in fees.  For a small campaign, you will pay less in fees and it is probably not worth the extra time to set up and manage your own crowdfunding campaign.  Many founders choose to use the Kickstarter platform because it’s easy to use and allows you to focus on creating and promoting the campaign instead of managing the backend finances of fundraising.