Hearts Revolutionizes Traditional Dating App Scene

Women's Dating

Hearts Dating App Aims to Revolutionize the Traditional Dating App Scene with a Pay-Per-Match Model

Jordan Sprogis

Written by: Jordan Sprogis

Jordan Sprogis

Jordan has been writing professionally for the better half of a decade, and she has bylines on various verticals that highlight the psychology and sociology of creating personal relationships. Despite recently tying the knot herself, Jordan remains deeply engaged in thoughtful conversations about relationships and dating with her friends. Now, she's excited to extend these dialogues to the realm of DatingAdvice.com.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Reviewed by: Sheena Holt

Sheena Holt

Sheena Holt comes to DatingAdvice with a BA in English and creative writing. She has written for numerous literary, culture, and satire publications.

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The Short Version: Nearly 30 million dating app users are active in the U.S., but even with those numbers, a match is never guaranteed. Introducing Hearts Dating, the dating app that aims to revolutionize online dating. Created by Hari Gopal, Hearts features a pay-per-match model: Only pay $0.99 when your message is opened, with no hidden fees or subscriptions. We talked with Hari, who shared how Hearts’ mission prioritizes affordability and transparency in the dating app world — ultimately setting a new standard for the industry as a whole.

Joining a dating app can often feel like playing an arcade claw machine: You keep putting in tokens, hoping to snag a prize, but more often than not, the claw misses its mark.

You may even continue playing despite knowing there’s a real risk of coming away empty-handed. There’s something addictive about it, even though, given the chances, the odds are against you from the start.

Introducing Hearts Dating, a dating app that flips the script: You only pay when you win — or, in this case, when you make a match. Hari Gopal, the CEO of Hearts Dating, created this app to make dating apps affordable for everyone without monthly subscriptions. 

Hearts homepage
Don’t get caught up in subscription-based dating apps. Try Hearts instead, which follows a pay-per-match model.

“I realized there’s a market segment that can’t afford a $20 to $30 monthly subscription, so I came up with an idea: What if we offer a solution to this problem through a pay-per-match approach?” Hari explained. 

Only pay $0.99 when you send a message and the recipient opens it. Say goodbye to freemium pricing with restricted features and the frustration of unread messages while automatic monthly subscriptions quietly deduct from your account.

A Journey from Frustration to Innovation

The average online dater spends $243 per year, which equates to around $20 per month. This is a small price to pay if you’re looking for a good time or the love of your life — but it can be an uncomfortably steep number for those who don’t have hundreds of extra dollars to spend on finding their partner.

I know what you’re thinking: While $20 per month by itself may not seem significant, the average American requires around $68,000 to cover essential expenses such as housing and food. And yet, the average hourly pay is only $29.76, which falls short by more than $10,000 compared to the required annual income.

And, of course, paying for dating falls outside these fundamental necessities. Hari experienced this firsthand and was challenged to change with a new dating app.

“I have been a dating app user for well over 10 years now; you name it, I’ve tried it,” Hari chuckled. “The one thing I kept noticing is I had spent thousands of dollars on these apps because they all apply a ‘freemium’ pricing approach.” 

Woman sad looking at phone
For those who can’t afford another monthly payment, the cost of dating apps can feel daunting.

The problem with freemium pricing is that while you get some basic features for free, you often have to pay to chat or even match with people. 

Take Tinder or Bumble, for example, which charges you for unlimited likes or swipes, or The League, which charges hundreds of dollars per quarter to get daily curated prospects.

Even revolutionary dating apps such as Coffee Meets Bagel — which only provides a manageable number of quality matches per day to reduce choice overload — have a premium level that lets you increase the number of profiles daily. 

“Anything beyond those basic features, like browsing through profiles, you’d have to sign up for a subscription,” Hari explained. “And on average, those typically run from $20 to $30 per month, with no match guaranteed.” 

They say to focus on the solution, not the problem, so Hari quickly decided to develop a platform to democratize dating access by introducing something no other dating app has done: a pay-per-match approach.

Embracing Pay-Per-Match Over Monthly Subscriptions

Hearts’ pay-per-match model is unique. All essential features, including profile creation and browsing, are free, so there are no subscription plans or freemium pricing. Users only pay $0.99 when there’s a mutual match, which occurs when the recipient opens the first message sent by the sender.

Here’s how it works: 

  1. Create your profile and begin browsing for potential matches. You automatically receive 5 free match credits!
  2. When you want to connect with someone, send them a message. The message content is initially blurred in their inbox. 
  3. If the person you’re messaging opens your message and wants to chat, both users are charged 1 match credit, or $0.99 each. 
  4. Further messaging after this initial message is 100% free. But if the recipient doesn’t open your message, you can decide to withdraw it from their inbox, and you won’t pay anything.

This structure does two things: It aims to be more financially inclusive to all types of users without forcing them into recurring payments with no guaranteed matches. It also enhances the quality of connections by slowing down the matching process so interactions are more intentional. 

Infographic displaying how Hearts payment works
Only pay $0.99 when you’ve made a match.

“Our approach differs from the typical right swipe/left swipe method,” Hari explained. “If you go to a party, people don’t just come up to you one-by-one, and you swipe left or right. Instead, all profiles are presented like real-life scenarios, like attending a party where you interact naturally.” 

Hari explains that Hearts recreates real-life interactions in an online platform setting, such as at a bar, restaurant, event, or concert. This approach enhances connection quality by slowing down the process. 

“Attraction is not an algorithm, so you cannot just capture it with any computer code. To humans, it’s psychological: Only they know what’s there between them,” said Hari.

Now, users only initiate contact with those they genuinely want to connect with.

A Dating App that Promotes Social Responsibility

Hearts also prioritizes its social responsibility by pledging to donate a portion of its proceeds (up to $0.33 per $1.00 spent by users) to organizations supporting women and children in the U.S.

“Again, this came from my own experience,” Hari said. “I’ve had women in my life who have experienced abuse, and what I generally see in society is the most vulnerable people are women and children.” 

But Hari said he wants to go beyond national borders.

“We aspire to have a global impact and aim to partner with organizations like the United Nations Global Goals. Our goal is to engage users, especially Gen Z, in philanthropy through our app,” he explained. “We want them to know part of their spending is making a positive impact, specifically targeting vulnerable women and children in war-torn and underdeveloped regions.”

Screenshot of Hearts' Philanthropy landing page
Hearts gives back to women and children in vulnerable situations, such as domestic violence and homelessness.

Hari also believes this new approach can change the dating app market by tapping into a large pool of non-paying users who are underserved by traditional subscription-based platforms — such as people who can’t pay $30 per month but instead are able to pay $30 per year. 

“Since users would pay only when they’re interested in each other, it opens up the market to almost two-thirds of the user base who are non-paying users,” Hari emphasized. 

After all, studies show that there are nearly 400 million dating app users around the world, representing about 5% of the global population. Out of these, only 15 million are paid subscribers

In the meantime, the Hearts team is excited to connect with investors and venture capitalists who share its passion for revolutionizing the dating app experience. 

With Hearts Dating, transparency is critical. Download the app 100% for free from the App Store or Google Play Store.