Wealth may not purchase you affection, but the bill for discovering love online is increasing.
The growing expense of dating apps, matchmaking services and, for those seeking an even greater advantage, love mentoring can necessitate singles to expend hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the pursuit of finding a partner — and that’s before the initial date.
Although most apps operate on a so-called “freemium” model, upgrades and premium features that dating services claim will heighten your success rate can greatly escalate costs. Popular dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, The League, and others still offer complimentary versions, but impose charges on users for additional features the companies pledge will provide better experiences — and more desirable romantic prospects — as the services seek to monetize their platforms.
These upgrades can include:
- Purchasing unlimited “likes”
- Gaining access to list of users who “like” you
- Establishing more dating preferences
- Becoming more visible on the app
- Bestowing virtual presents like flowers
Research from Morgan Stanley found that about 32% of single people in the U.S. use online dating services, and just over a quarter of them pay. The average paying user expends between $18 and $19 a month on either subscriptions or à la carte purchases, according to the study.
On Match Group-owned Hinge, for example, moving up to Hinge+ costs $100 for six months, or $17 monthly. That enables users to “like” an infinite number of prospects, spot who likes them, and be more selective about potential matches. Hinge affirms that it offers a gratis membership along with it calls “cost-effective” subscriptions.
“Users are often seeking additional support and efficiency in getting out on dates, and subscriptions empower them with additional tools on their dating journey,” the company stated to CBS MoneyWatch.
Another dating app known as The League costs $400 for three months. For that price, members are shown five prospects daily, able to conceal their age on their profiles, scout prospects from two cities at once, and receive other perks.
Some dating coaches who assist people refine what they’re seeking in a partner encourage their clients to enhance to pricier dating app subscriptions.
“The premium paid services make a lot of sense to me,” said Natalia Juarez, a dating coach who specializes in breakup recovery and dating strategy.
Despite some potentially scoffing at the notion of shelling out a lot of cash in romantic affairs, Juarez likened spending on dating apps to compensating for superior service from rideshare companies like Lyft and music streaming services like Spotify.
“People understand the value of upgrading — it has infiltrated all areas of life. I am not surprised dating apps have done same thing,” Juarez stated.
Relationship coach Amie Leadingham also acknowledged the paradigm shift that has made more people feel comfortable paying up to make a love connection.
“I do recommend going to the paid sites over the complimentary sites, because the complimentary sites are full of bogus profiles and scammers. When you invest, you have more intention, and it shows you’re being more serious about online dating,” Leadingham informed CBS MoneyWatch.
If you don’t pay, “you’re not getting dates”
For their part, some people who pay for premium dating services say the enhancements are worth it, while also desiring the complimentary offerings were improved.