Substack Payments: Everything You Need to Know Before You Go Paid

Karen Cherry
10 min readAug 19, 2023

Substack’s built-in payment feature is one of the top reasons you should be using Substack for your newsletter. Their payments system is simple, even for non-techy writers.

But there are a few things you need to know upfront to get the best out of Substack payments.

In this post I’m going to cover:

  • When to turn on payments
  • Who shouldn’t use payments (and who can’t use payments on Substack)
  • What you need to know about Stripe
  • Whether you should use the local currency feature
  • What to offer paying subscribers
  • How to tell your subscribers
  • Pitfalls to avoid

When to turn on payments

In the early days of Substack, their advice was to wait until you have 1000 subscribers before you start accepting payments.

This has changed. Many Substack writers now recommend that you turn on payments BEFORE you get 1000 subscribers, perhaps even from day one.

The most compelling reason to turn on payments from the beginning is that every day you don’t have a paid option you are potentially leaving money on the table. You can’t know who…



Karen Cherry

Substack writer. Secret tree hugger. Aussie business owner with >$19K revenue on Substack. Refusing to dumb it down.