What Is Ko-Fi and Should You Use It? Full Breakdown

If you’ve just started your online course business, it’s important to find a way to monetize your work to make an earning out of it. 

A popular method is using donations or tips platforms like Ko-fi. 

In this post, we will go over how you can benefit from Ko-fi, its pros, cons as well as some alternatives. 

ko fi


Ko-fi is a perfect way to earn from your online courses. It features one-time donations, lets you upload video courses, and has other useful tools to monetize your content. Best of all, it’s completely free to set up and accepts donations with no fees taken by Ko-fi.

Alternate #1


Patreon is a great option if you’re looking for increased interaction with your students while making money on your online course. You can let your followers become active participants in your lectures by giving them a monthly subscription, exclusive content, and insight into your courses. 


Alternate #2

Buy Me a Coffee

Just like Ko-fi, Buy Me a Coffee is a fast and friendly way to accept donations. The setup is extremely easy and only takes a few minutes to create your account. While BMAC does not have a monthly fee, it does take 5% of every transaction. 

buy me a coffee

Quick Summary of the Main Product


If you’re still confused about what Ko-fi is, think of it as a virtual tip jar. 

The idea behind it is that it lets the audience of your online course donate the same amount equivalent to a coffee cup. 

This creates a different feeling from a subscription service or a paywall. 

It’s a one-time payment, it’s a small amount, and it’s completely optional. 

Now the question remains, how does Ko-fi work?

When you first get on Ko-fi, you will be asked to create a landing page

This is where you will identify yourself as a course creator. You’ll also have to tell your supporters or your audience about the course, your projects, etc. 

Furthermore, Ko-fi gives you three options to make money on your course: 

  • Donations 
  • Commissions
  • Subscriptions 

Donations and Subscriptions allow your students to make instant donations or make a commitment to sending you money every month. 

While the Commission service allows your students to buy exclusive course content from you. These can be in the form of quizzes or extra material in the lecture. 


Features and Benefits

Ko-fi Gold 

Although you can get Ko-fi for free, there’s also a Ko-fi Gold for $6 a month. 

After using both versions for a considerable amount of time, we’ve compiled a list of differences between the two to help you choose the best version for your online course:

  • Ko-fi Gold is more similar to Patreon since it allows monthly subscriptions. 
  • Ko-fi Gold gives you the freedom of choosing your donation price whereas the free version sets the price for you
  • A standard Ko-fi page has the statement “Buy X a cup of coffee” while Gold lets you change this to anything you want. This is a small feature, but a great way to make your Ko-fi page more personal to you. 

We would recommend Ko-fi Gold for online course creators who want to use Ko-fi as a more active source of income. Otherwise, the standard account should work great for you if you are a casual user. 

ko-fi price

Exclusive Content

You can convert fans into members for your online course by giving them access to extra content. 

Members are those people in your Ko-fi account that make monthly donations for additional content. 

Extra content can be in the form of:

  • Extra videos or extended versions of the lecture videos
  • Early access to lectures
  • Extra tutorials and audio clips 
  • Tests and quizzes on certain topics
  • Sneak Peek for your next lectures

Galleries for User Engagement 

What sets Ko-fi apart from other platforms is its ability to share images from a gallery. 

It’s an extra visual to engage your students in your online course. 

You can also set up multiple galleries depending on how you want to organize the images. 

These galleries are a great way to connect with young people and promote yourself on other sites like Instagram and Pinterest.


Ko-fi Button 

You can create buttons for your accounts so your subscribers know exactly where to donate. It’s also a great way to promote your account instead of using Adsense advertisements. 

Ko-fi buttons can easily be created using Ultimate Shortcodes, images, or links. 

ko-fi button

Ko-fi Assets 

A great thing about Ko-fi is that you can download images and logo assets directly from Ko-fi.com. 

This means you don’t have to spend hours on Photoshop creating a logo or a button. 

Incorporating buttons and logos into your account is a nice way to make it visually appealing for your fans without installing new plugins. 


When testing out this platform, our team was able to get instant notifications when someone donated to our page. 

We particularly liked this method since it gives you a chance to quickly respond to your supporters. Plus it’s nice to know exactly when you received money into your bank account. 

WordPress Plugin  

To our surprise, Ko-fi does come with a WordPress Plugin for those who want to add it to their personal blog or website. 

However, it has not been updated in quite some time or tested with the current version of WordPress. 

So, it’s better to wait for an update before you decide on using it. 

ko-fi plugin

 Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Ko-fi

Platform Fee

Ko-fi is one of the most cost-effective platforms to start making an income for online course creators

Unlike other platforms, Ko-fi does not take a cut of your donations. 

Moreover, you can get access to most of its features with the free plan. 


You’ll be pleased to know that it’s super easy to set up an account on Ko-fi. 

All you need to do is create an account, mention a bit about yourself, add pictures and have yourself a donation page. 

The only thing you need to make sure of is to have an existing PayPal account or Stripe account to receive money from your fans. 



What we love about Ko-fi is that it allows creators to be paid directly. 

Once the money is sent, you don’t have to wait for any processing. You can accept money immediately through PayPal or Stripe. 


As of now, you can not access Ko-fi through the mobile app. There’s also no desktop app available for Ko-fi.

However, the website (ko-fi.com) is available to you on any device of your choice. 

On the upside, you can add a Ko-fi link or embed it on posts, sidebars, websites, etc for your online course.

This does not offer the functionality of an app, but it’s a good standby option until the company comes up with a better update. 


Ko-fi is a great platform for selling commissions. 

This feature is especially beneficial for artists who are creating online courses. 

You can create digital projects and sell them for a fee on Ko-fi. This will be a good source of income on the side along with selling online courses.

ko-fi avatar

Advantages and Disadvantages of Ko-fi

What we likedWhat we didn’t like
Direct and instant payments
Integration with PayPal and Stripe
No fees
Low commitment 
Free tip Jar Option
Stream Alerts
The free version has limited features
Lesser-known platform
Not suitable for blogging

Social Proof

Ko-fi has many supporters online therefore, we went through some of the reviews to fully understand what people are saying about the platform. 

Content creators, artists, and photographers rave about Ko-fi’s features. It’s a great way for them to sell their art, accept commissions, and get paid. 

Here are some of the reviews we came across: 

kofi social proof
kofi social proof
kofi social proof

Similar to Ko-fi 

#1: Most Reliable Monetization Platform – Patreon Review 


Patreon is a platform set up for creators who get out content on a regular schedule.

Since their launch, they have acclimated 2 million users and more than 200,000 creators

That’s a huge community to have at your fingertips without having to spend your money on advertisements for your work. 

Patreon is a great option for online course creators who have a YouTube Channel for their course and want a platform where their audience can support them. 

Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Patreon

Platform Fee 

Patreon is not a free platform. 

It takes a 5-12% cut on donations collected by the creator. 

Moreover, it also charges you a certain percentage as taxes and transaction fees that you have to pay to process your orders. 

patreon price


Setting up a Patreon account takes a little more effort than Ko-fi.com.

You’ll have to visit its homepage and click on the Create a Patreon option. 

Then, you’ll have to fill out a couple of forms and submit them to start earning from Patreon.



One of the biggest downsides of Patreons is that it doesn’t support instant payments.

It charges your fans on behalf of you and holds the donations until you reach a minimum balance. 

Another alternative is waiting till the end of the month to finally withdraw your donations.


Patreon is available on both desktop and mobile. 

Although, there is no desktop app you can access their website from your computer.

For mobile, you can download the Android and iOS app to connect with your audience and tend to your projects at any time.

What we likedWhat we didn’t like
Rewards for fans
Fewer content restrictions
Active community 
Multiple subscription plans
Less flexibility 
Instant payments not available
No built-in promotional tools

Most Reliable Monetization Platform 

The most reliable monetization platform is Patreon thanks to its tools that have allowed thousands of artists and creators to make a living. 

#2: Best Donation Platform – Buy Me a Coffee Review 

buy me a coffee

Buy me a Coffee is an online service that helps you get financial support for your work. 

It gives you a creative way of monetizing your online courses without the complexities of your program’s procedures getting in the way. 

Similar to Ko-fi, the idea behind is to donate as much as the price of a coffee as a way of showing support. 

Factors to Consider Before you Decide to Buy Buy Me a Coffee

Platform Fee

Buy Me a Coffee is free for the most part. 

There is a 5% fee tied to all your donations. So if someone gives you $3, you are charged $0.5. However, you can choose to not pay these yourself and transfer the cost to your followers. 


Setting up a BMAC account is extremely easy. 

All you have to do is sign in, set up a donation button and you are good to go. 

buy me a coffee


The major difference between Ko-fi and Buy me a Coffee is that BMAC offers various methods of payment including credit card, PayPal, Stripe, and even Google Play. 


Buy Me a Coffee is available on most operating systems including Windows and Mac. 

It also has an app compatible with both Android and iOS.

What we likedWhat we didn’t like
Easy set up your page
Ability to set goals
PayPal and Stripe integration 
Donations equal a price of a coffee cup
The dashboard is on the wonky side
Tech support takes a long time to respond

Best Donation Platform

The best donation platform is Buy Me a Coffee because of its easy setup. It lets you keep 95% of all your payments. Moreover, you can receive money through credit cards, PayPal, Stripe, etc. 

What is Ko-Fi And Should You Use It? – Guide to Buy

what is ko-fi

Platform Fee

We realize you won’t have a big enough budget if you’ve just started as an online course creator.

Therefore, we suggest going for a platform that is free or charges 0 to 5% platform fee. 


It’s important to go for a donation platform that is easy to set up

If you’re continually running into difficulties while setting up your page or have a lot of forms to fill, it’s only going to waste your time.


As an online course creator, it is important you get your money on time. 

Look for a platform that allows instant payments as well as supports various payment methods including credit card, PayPal, etc. 


It’s a good idea to go for a donation platform that has a mobile and desktop app. 

This way you’ll be able to access your page, manage your donations and easily tend to your projects on the go. 

Take a look at our website to learn all there is to start an online course business.

Wrapping Things Up…

With that, we’re at the end of our Ko-fi review. 

The question remains: What is Ko-fi?

It is a service that allows fans to support their favorite artists, creators, photographers by donating money that is equivalent to the price of a coffee. 

For online course creators, Ko-fi is a simple, friendly, and free way to start making money on their lectures. 

Will you be using Ko-fi? Let us know in the comments below.