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Ko-Fi vs Buy Me a Coffee: Where to Make a Latte Loot?

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Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee are two fundraising platforms that are easy to mix up. Both run on the same premise: they help artists and freelancers say, “If you appreciate what I’m doing, then donate the price of a coffee each month to support me and my work.” It’s a low-pressure way to ask for compensation.

In print, it might seem crazy that anyone would mix up “ko-fi” and “buy me a coffee.” But for podcasters promoting these platforms during their show, the two brand names can get easily confused.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee so you can decide which is most likely to fuel and sustain your podcast. 


When Nigel Pickles found a piece of code on Stack Overflow that saved him hours of work, he wanted to buy a cuppa for the fellow developer who came up with the code to say thank you.

This inspired him to create a solution where people could give each other a small monetary ‘gift’ to show their appreciation for something without having to exchange bank details. Nearly twelve years later, Ko-fi has paid over $200 million to creators. 

Ko-fi Features

There are a whole bunch of great Ko-fi features that help creators raise cash for their work. For example:

  • Start by using Ko-fi’s tip jar for free and get paid directly via PayPal or Stripe.
  • Send direct messages to your supporters.
  • Post images or videos in a gallery.
  • Write blog posts.
  • Set public goals, such as “When our donations reach $X, I’ll produce an episode where I interview my socks.”
  • Accept paid commissions or pre-paid sales.
  • Offer recurring memberships, just like Acast Plus or Patreon.
  • Create a storefront and sell physical merchandise or digital products.

Ko-fi offers a Gold tier that comes with more features. This premium tier lets you:

  • Put your content behind a paywall, so it’s only available to supporters.
  • Customize creator pages with options such as brand colors and removing the button to support Ko-fi.
  • Schedule posts in advance.
  • Change “coffee” to whatever you like: tea, cocktails, or simply financial support.
  • Preview new features as Ko-fi develops them. 

Ko-fi Pricing

At the entry-level, Ko-fi doesn’t charge fees for donations. They do, however, charge a 5% fee on memberships, shop and commission sales. 

Ko-fi Gold is $8 per month (or $6 per month if you buy a year in advance). Fees on membership, commissions, or shop sales are 0% for Gold members.

Ko-fi’s Contributor level provides the same features as Gold in exchange for 5% of your earnings. 

Who is Ko-fi Good For? 

Ko-fi is good for creators who aren’t ready to make separate, paywalled content along with their regular podcast, and simply want a tip jar. After some time, Ko-fi lets you grow into options like membership, a shop, and more.

Buy Me a Coffee

Founders Jijo Sunny, Joseph Sunny, and Aleesha John came together in 2017 with a vision for freelancers to get compensated for their work. Their mission statement says,  “We believe almost everyone will work for themselves in the future – our mission is to empower individuals to achieve that.”

Buy Me a Coffee has the ease of a tip jar and the infrastructure of a global membership platform to help freelancers sustain their practice. 

Buy Me a Coffee Features

It’s easy to get these two services mixed up, since they offer many of the same features. Buy Me a Coffee offers:

  • A donation button,
  • E-mail broadcasts (messaging) to your supporters
  • A gallery for your images
  • Post text and audio posts from Soundcloud or Spotify
  • Memberships,
  • A storefront
  • A wishlist (or, a list of goals to reach via funding)
  • Commissions or pre-paid sales
  • Integrations with WordPress, Giphy, Zapier, and Google Analytics
  • Payment via Stripe, Stripe Express, Payoneer, or Wise
  • A mobile app
  • Live chat support twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Buy Me a Coffee Pricing

All users pay a flat 5%, and have access to the same features. No tiers, no decisions.

Who is Buy Me a Coffee Good For? 

This platform is good for podcasters who don’t need a service that’s 100% free, and need to use a mobile app to update and manage their Buy Me a Coffee account. 

What’s The Difference Between Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee? 

Other than branding and history, these two companies are very similar. There are only a few differences between Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee. On closer examination, these are only superficially different from each other.

Mobile Access

Buy Me a Coffee makes much of how they have a mobile app. Ko-fi’s website is optimized for mobile. It’s not hard to manage on a phone. You can park a link to Ko-fi.com on your phone’s home screen.

Payment Platforms for Creators

To pay creators, both Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee use Stripe. Ko-fi also uses PayPal. Buy Me a Coffee also uses Payoneer and Wise.

Not all of these payment platforms are available in all countries. Check the crowdfunding platform’s knowledge base or support articles for details, before you commit.

Price Differences Between Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee (How Mocha Money?)

The big difference is how much you pay for what you get. 

Let’s use a financial worst-case scenario. If you needed to use all of the features these platforms offer, and your podcast gets $120 a month in contributions, you would pay:

  • $6 on Buy Me a Coffee
  • $6 on Ko-fi as a Contributor
  • $6 if you were in the Gold tier on Ko-fi and paid annually. 

What if your podcast’s contributions are more than $120 a month? Okay, Flash. Let’s say you make $1000 a month in contributions. In that case, you’d pay: 

  • $50 a month on Buy Me a Coffee
  • $50 on Ko-fi as a Contributor
  • $6 if you were in the Gold tier on Ko-fi and paid annually. 

In order to get that $1000 per month in contributions, though, you’d probably need the additional integrations Buy Me a Coffee offers, such as Zapier or WordPress. You’d have to make this personal decision based on what you want to offer to your supporters.

If you solely want a donation button, some media podcast hosting services, such as Acast and Buzzsprout, have a donation button in their player window. So, you might not need to add another service to your podcast workflow. 

Ko-Fi vs Buy Me a Coffee: Summary

Philosophically, there’s one big difference. When you look at the companies’ origin stories:

  • Ko-fi makes compensation easy for the payer.
  • Buy Me a Coffee makes compensation easy for the payee.

Of course, crowdfunding isn’t the only way to monetize your podcast. Our full guide to making money with your podcast can show you other ways to sustain your show, from sponsorship and affiliates to selling products, services, or courses. Check it out if you want to start counting beans beyond the caffeinated type…

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