Beeminder Forum

Commitwall is live! (credit card required to create goals)

Yeah, I’d like to find a way another way (without sounding snarky) to convey that if you’re at all on the fence, we’d greatly appreciate it if you picked the credit card option. (PayPal is a mild nightmare to work with compared to our beloved credit card processor, Stripe.)

Good feedback and nice concrete prediction! Main thing we’re measuring is rate of adding credit cards, exactly as you say, plus churn, to see if this causes more people to delete their accounts after putting in a credit card in order to clear the commitwall. And of course it should show up in the revenue graph soon enough. One thing that pushed us over the edge on this was that even if it’s better to let people start beeminding without a credit card, the point of first derailing is a uniquely bad time to require the credit card. So there may be a better place to put the commitwall (after a month of beeminding?) but we think this at least beats the previous status quo. Or we predict that. We’ll see! Thanks again for the feedback on this!

Also good webcopy for us to try! And thanks so much for the kind words about us and the blog!

Yeah, these anecdotes are what made it so agonizing for so long!

At some point – – we started making you add a credit card after creating 1 or 2 goals.

Yup, that was easy to misinterpret. It was supposed to be (I think, that was @bee who wrote that off the top of her head when implementing it!) like “Geez, Beeminder, that’s some chutzpah, asking for a credit card minutes after we’ve first met”. We changed that to “Why? Because credible threats! :money_with_wings:

You might be right, though how would we enforce it exactly? Also if you happen to derail before then, we’re back to the problem of asking for the credit card at the worst possible time.

The only bucket testing related to this so far has been whether the commitwall appeared before creating your 2nd goal or before creating your 3rd goal. It turns out to make no detectable difference! This time there’s no bucket test. Everyone hits the commitwall on their very first goal (or very next goal, for those who are currently beeminding sans payment method).

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How about “If you’re at all on the fence, we’d greatly appreciate it if you picked the credit card option. (PayPal is a mild nightmare to work with compared to our beloved credit card processor, Stripe.)”


Ha, well, that’s some pretty good webcopy, but, as we’ve established, users don’t read webcopy. But making the paypal link all faint and small (down-popped, as we call it) with that webcopy as a tooltip might be the way to go.


How bout just “we prefer credit” or “(preferred)” and “(non-preferred)”?

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You’re trying to “close the deal” at that point, not ask for favours. Bite the bullet! :smiley:


Maybe a discount for stripe or added fee for paypal?

Paypal’s terms (the last time I checked) prohibit charging a surcharge for using Paypal.


Hmm. That doesn’t sound legally enforceable but beeminder probably doesn’t want to risk it going up against a huge corporation. :money_with_wings:

What about a discount for stripe? Since beeminder also accepts other forms of payment besides stripe and paypal (see Prepaid account - #6 by dreev ) just discounting stripe doesn’t specifically penalize paypal.

Oh that’s curious! If I remember correctly I recently did business with a site which would actually have charged a surcharge for PayPal. Guess they don’t care / don’t know / or it is indeed just wishful thinking on PayPal’s side.

thaaaaat makes sense. when i registered i’m pretty sure i immediately made multiple goals

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For what’s worth (pun intended) , it’s now illegal in the EU to charge extra for a specific method of payment


According to that link:

Credit and debit cards issued by three party schemes (such as American Express and Diners Club), and business or corporate credit cards, where your employer is billed instead of you, are not covered by EU rules on payment services, and you can still be charged extra for using these cards.

So Paypal may be classified that way as well.

Well, at least an airline that included PayPal as an option and was charging different fees for credit cards, debit cards and Paypal, has now removed them all.

I don’t like the idea to enter my credit card, each service where I have to give my account number (Apple) or my credit card without trying before. I pass my way.
For Beeminder, it has been a very long time before I gave my credit card and more time before I paid something. I have found that paying something is very relevant for my budget goals, it’s relevant for the goals where it’s only my responsibility to do something, but totally irrelevant for loosing weight.
For the service, after 1 month of trying I took the yearly plan.
Recently for Busuu after 24h00 trying I took the yearly plan too.
For Beeminder, I think before setting my credit card, I would like to try the different kinds of goal, including do-less goals, for 1 or 2 months and after if I want to continue beeminding I would have to give my credit card id or take a low cost plan: for me a low-cost plan is less than 40$ a year.

My 2 cents.


In case you’re looking for non-critical feedback in addition to critical feedback, here you go. I think this is fine and it doesn’t bother me, but I’ve also been using Beeminder for at least 2 years and have paid for multiple goal derails.


I actually agree with the idea of a commit wall (the point of beeminder is that you should feel the sting if you don’t “make it” on your goals)

I explained this to a friend earlier this week, and he loved the idea. His computer is in the shop (I’m fixing it) so we didn’t go to sign him up. But then it occurred to me, my friend is un-banked.

Has anyone thought of a way to use Beeminder for the un-banked? I know this sounds crazy, but it’s 2019 and the age of block chains are upon us. There are “stablecoin” tokens and “smart contracts”, it seems like it would be totally within reason to make this a thing, where there’s a provable way for Beeminder to get their money, in a way that is far more trustable than “the credit card was valid at the time the commitment was made.”

I thought about having my friend get a prepaid Visa card or something like that, and shot this down in my head immediately because you can just spend the balance from the prepaid card, and throw it away! But really isn’t this generally true of any other traditional banking mechanism?

You can always close your accounts, change your address, cancel your credit card before the charge hits. I know I had a lapse in my Bee Plus payments once because my card details had expired, and so it’s clear that most if not all of the forms of payment that Beeminder accepts can have this problem. So I was wondering if anyone has more blockchain juice than I do, and if you can think of a way that might work? Is there a way that I could lock $5 up in a smart contract that only Beeminder can release, when for example I’ve stopped my goal and stayed on-track past the akrasia? (Would anyone use that?)

Ideally it would be something that you can use inside of the existing payment frameworks, but if it’s a smart contract it would obviously require some additional development work from Team Bee to make it work. I don’t know a lot about smart contracts. Has anyone else already had this thought before, and taken it further than I have?

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(We’re probably not going to explore charging more or less for different payment methods, so it’s likely not worth spending too much thought on how we could go about it if we wanted to.)

Reading all of the feedback. Thanks for putting so much time into sharing these thoughts!! Really helpful! Making a lot of notes here.


I think that’s what I would go with. Especially if it’s a reloadable one. (Visa has reloadable cards and there are lots of locations where you can reload them.) One way that might make this especially meaningful is to reload it on a regular schedule and then have a rule where you get to spend anything above x dollars on… anything you want, so there’s a strong incentive to let it get up to a certain point and to not derail.


Commenting because I just read the my weekly beemail: :slight_smile:

I agree with @dreev that a goal without a sting is pretty much useless. So I definitely see the reason for a commitwall. And I like it. I seriously have no idea if that will be an economically good decision. Maybe it will in the sense of an 80/20 principle? Focus on those users that are so committed that they don’t mind putting money on the line.


The “Why?” is very important imo. Maybe even make it: “Don’t worry. Why?” and emphasize the ability to communicate with a human after a wrongful derail.

This time there’s no bucket test. Everyone hits the commitwall on their very first goal (or very next goal, for those who are currently beeminding sans payment method).

It seems you don’t want to test commitwall vs. no commitwall, probably because you already know you want a commitwall. But how did you reach that conclusion? Seems like it would make sense to test it economically, anyway. Or ist testing that impossible because you don’t know when users from the commitwall group jump ship before signing up? Anyway, it would probably take a long time to get robust and meaningful results (not even sure what your target variable would be).

And to chime in on the snarky comment part:

I would also drop the “if you must” text after the paypal option. No need to sound snarky. Lots of people use Paypal as a layer of security and convenience in signing up for stuff.

I remember finding that snarky comment peculiar when I signed up, but I don’t think it would keep anyone from signing up. What’s important is that there is a paypal option at all. It’s just much easier and feels a bit safer I guess. I probably would not have given my credit card information before I really knew beeminder.


Yes and no. As in, yes, it’s proposed every once in a while, but, no, it’s always taken about exactly as far as you just took it. :slight_smile:

My gut reaction is that Beeminder is plenty trusted by users (if it weren’t they wouldn’t use it) and so there’s nothing that cryptocurrency can do that normal money can’t do equally well. Eg, anyone willing to lock funds up with a smart-contract would be equally happy to just transfer the funds to Beeminder and trust us to transfer them back.

Of course that entails legal and accounting difficulties with holding money you may have to give back. Also the implementation cost. And remember most Beeminder goals have no end date, so money would be locked up indefinitely.

Excursion into fantasyland: Perhaps the most principled thing to do would be to treat Beeminder as a bank and actually deposit a lump sum at the start and then let Beeminder pay you interest and debit your account when you derail, freezing your graphs if you ever let your balance hit zero.

So for anyone with a credit card, it’s pretty elegant how thoroughly that avoids all of the above issues. You just authorize Beeminder to sting you in the future without having to worry about anything ahead of time.

For those without a credit card or bank account with debit card, which works equally well, I like @mary’s suggestion for how to make it work with a prepaid debit card. (Which we also support right now, to be clear!)

We decided to forge ahead with no bucket test for a few reasons:

  1. We’re really confident this is better.
  2. It’s a pain to talk about and discuss publicly when different people have it behaving differently.
  3. As you guessed, our bucket-testing infrastructure stupidly still only works among logged-in users and this test has to bucket people before they become users. Wait, that’s not true anymore since the commitwall is on goal creation, not signup. We had been planning to do it on signup and may still switch to that.
  4. If it does turn out to be a bad idea we’re measuring enough things that we expect to be able to tell without a bucket test.
  5. As you also guessed, bucket tests seem to take a long time at our scale.

Here are the number of goals added each day in the week or so on either side of the change: