A guide to how online ticketing platform pricing works
If only it was as easy as working out the cheapest block of choc at your local store. Unfortunately it’s far from it. Ticket platform pricing can be a minefield, and the consequences for your events budget can be significant. Whether you are running a charity event and it means less money going to a good cause, or a music festival and it means budget for one less artist, it’s an important decision!
In this blog we breakdown how fees are charged and warn of some of the common pitfalls.
So let’s start with the basics. All ticketing fees are made up of 2 costs:
- The fee to the ticketing platform itself – this is the fee you pay to use the ticketing software, publish your box office and get customer support. It could range from a flat fee of $0.65, up to a % fee that could cost you $20 per ticket. On 5,000 tickets that’s a $96,750 price difference!
- Payment processing fee – this is the fee that Paypal, Stripe etc charge to process the transaction and is usually a mixture of a fixed fee + a % fee. It’s charged per transaction and not per ticket.
Generally speaking the advertised price is just talking about the ticketing platform fee and then they’ll say that payment processing fee is added on top separately. In this instance the payment processing fee is usually passed directly on and there is no mark-up taken by the ticketing platform.
Be cautious of companies that bundle both of these costs together into one overall per ticket cost (e.g. Eventbrite in the UK is £0.49 + 6.5%, with payment processing fee included). At first glance the simplicity is appealing. However, this means:
- You don’t know how much your processing fee is costing you and there may be a big mark-up included
- You will pay processing fees per every ticket and not per transaction
- They are likely to default you to their own payment processing provider as opposed to more globally recognised brands like Paypal or Stripe
- It will make it difficult to compare like-for-like and find the best deal
Now we know what you’re paying for, let’s take a closer look at the fees themselves…
Ticket platform fee
As we said above, this is the cost that covers the technical team who develop the platform, the hosting and running of your box office, customer support for answering all your questions and the marketing to find new customers. All of that is included for as little as $0.65 per ticket! However, you’ll find vast differences in prices, often hidden because they are presented in a variety of ways. So here’s a breakdown on the types of pricing structures:
- a flat fee per ticket (e.g. Ticket Tailor £0.50, $0.65, €0.60) – this keeps things simple and allows you to budget easily. Particularly good value if you have higher ticket prices that won’t be affected by % pricing
- A percentage per ticket (e.g. Ti.to 3% per ticket) – this could be the best value option if you have a very low ticket price
- A flat fee plus percentage (e.g. Eventbrite US 3.5% + $1.59) – no obvious benefit here for the event organiser so do your maths carefully if you see pricing like this
- A monthly fee – (e.g. Ticket Tailor $99 month for 250 tickets) if you have a regular flow of sales throughout the year, then these packages can be great value and keep things simple
In addition to the above, you may find pricing pages mention a minimum and maximum fee e.g. Universe has a maximum per ticket fee of $19.95. If you have an expensive ticket price, make sure to keep an eye out for this!
Since payment processing fees are usually fairly constant across platforms – this is the fee you should take most interest in.
Payment Processing fee
The fee for processing the transaction is often as much the ticketing fee itself, but there is far less variation between platforms as most companies just pass the fee straight on to the event organiser.
First, you need to decide which payment processor to use. Stripe and Paypal are the best known providers around the world, but you may have a local alternative that suits your customers better. You can often link more than one processor to your box office and ensure the best possible coverage.
The best way to understand the fee you’ll end up paying is reviewing their own pricing pages (Stripe’s is here and Paypal’s is here). As an example Stripe in the UK charges 1.4% plus £0.20 per transaction. So a customer who buys 1x £10 ticket the processing fee is £0.34. If a customer were to buy 3x £10 tickets in one transaction then the processing fee would be £0.62 or £0.206 per ticket (£0.20 plus £30 x 1.4%).
Fees change dependent on where your account is based and where the ticket buyer is purchasing from, so it can get complicated. However, given most events sell to customers in the country they are based in, it should be easy enough to work out.
Do I have to pay these fees or can I get the customer to cover the costs?
Yes, it’s true that most platforms offer you the choice of passing all the fees on to the customer by adding a transaction or booking fee.
So if you have a $10 ticket with $2 in ticketing and payment processing fees you could add this on to your ticket price as a booking fee and charge the customer $12 ($10 + $2). This means that after all costs have been deducted you still end up with $10! Magic! Some particularly savvy event organisers go further and add larger booking fees and pocket the profit (e.g. $10 + $5), but we’ll leave that decision down to you – high booking fees have had some bad press over the years!
When do I have to pay and when do I receive my money?
This all depends on the payment processor you use.
If you’re using Stripe and Paypal then they’ll usually automatically deduct their transaction fees and the fees of the ticketing platform – leaving you with the net ticket fee that you get to keep. You should see this in your Stripe/Paypal account almost immediately once a customer has purchased a ticket – but it may take a week or so until it’s available for you to transfer into your bank account.
Some “own brand” payment processors are a little less flexible. For example, Eventbrite doesn’t payout until after the event, similarly Ticket Source payout the Monday after your event. This means you may not be able to thousands in ticket sales until after the event – if this has implications for your cash flow then it’s something you should carefully consider.
If you are on a monthly package such as Ticket Tailor’s then you will get a monthly invoice that is charged directly from your credit/debit card.
So which one is best for you?
Hopefully this blog has helped you understand ticketing pricing slightly better and answered some of your questions. Our comparison tool was built specifically for people like you, so give it a try and let us know what you think. Every event is different so it takes a bit of work to find the best for you. Check out or blog post on what else to consider here.