Subscriptions

Online Dating

Everything You Need to Know About Online Dating Subscriptions

Anggi Pradhini

Written by: Anggi Pradhini

Anggi Pradhini

Anggi Pradhini is a professional copywriter who creates unique, engaging, and up-to-date content for DatingAdvice.com. As a former stockbroker turned professional writer, she loves to challenge herself to broaden her horizons and improve her skills, one article at a time. After learning from the breakups of three long-term relationships, she dedicated her life to providing informative and relatable content about relationships and dating for those who need it.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Reviewed by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at DatingAdvice.com. When she was growing up, her family teased her for being "boy crazy," but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating and relationship expert. As an English major at the University of Florida, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about a variety of subjects. Now with over 1,800 lifestyle articles to her name, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to DatingAdvice.com.

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If you’re thinking about purchasing an online dating subscription, you probably have many questions. You must do your research to understand how things work and if an online dating subscription will be beneficial for you. 

Our dating experts have been in the trenches of online dating for a while, and they’ve put together this guide to help you decide which online dating platform will suit you.

Let’s get into the nitty gritty of the swiping scene.

The Basics | Pros & Cons | Factors to Consider | Tips for Success

The Basics of Online Dating Subscriptions

You can get some results from a free account on online dating sites and apps. However, if you want to enhance your dating experience, consider a subscription. 

Typical Time Frames

Subscriptions usually come with several tiers. Users must choose to commit for one month, three months, six months, or a year.

You can choose the time frame that serves you best. Usually the longer your subscription, the lower the monthly cost will be.

Online dating subscription perks

In most apps, the most popular option is a three-month subscription. 

Three months is long enough to find out what the app is all about and see tangible results in your dating journey.

Free vs. Paid Subscriptions

Of course, online dating sites and apps are in the business of making money, so they would prefer to have more paid users than free users. 

Free accounts offer a glimpse of what online dating apps can do, and paid subscriptions unlock their full potential.

Dating expert Julia Spira assessed Tinder Plus and found that online dating apps geared toward casual dating, like Tinder, can get the job done without a paid subscription. 

Meanwhile, on dating apps designed for serious relationships like eharmony, Match, and Christian Mingle, you can’t see other members’ profile pictures without a subscription.

Common Features Included in Subscription Plans

The basic membership of a dating service will only get so far. Paid subscribers have an advantage because they can use every feature offered by the online dating apps and sites. Some features and perks you can expect are:

  • Priority visibility

Your profile will get boosted by an algorithm that ensures you will be seen by more people. This increases your chances of matching with a compatible person.

  • Advanced search filters

You can use advanced filters to narrow your matches to specific requirements such as ethnicity, religion, education, and political views.

  • Unlimited messaging

This is the most important of all. Without unlimited messaging, you can’t expect to connect with new people, much less have a good time and meet in person.

  • Video chat

Some online dating apps have a video chat feature so that you can make sure you’re chatting with real human beings. This feature is powerful because it allows you to dive deeper without sharing your personal number.

Overall, your online dating experience will be smoother with a subscription. Another perk is an ad-free browser. You won’t be interrupted by the need to push the “skip” button on every pop-up ad.

Pros and Cons 

A paid subscription isn’t a catch-all solution to online dating. It has some benefits and pitfalls that we’ll discuss here.

Pro: Access to Premium Features

Although some free memberships from online dating apps like Tinder and OkCupid offer free messaging, the overall experience is still better on paid online dating apps. 

OkCupid logo
OkCupid offers free messaging, but more features become available with a paid plan.

Free dating sites and apps have a low barrier for entry, and that means more flaky individuals, scammers, and fake profiles.

A paid membership shows that: 1) The individual you meet has disposable income. 2) The person cares enough to invest in a relationship. These two factors establish mutual respect from the get-go.

Con: It Costs Money

Good service comes at a price. Most online dating sites include an upfront cost, meaning you pay a certain amount to access all paid features for a given period of time.

Here’s the range of online dating subscription prices in general:

  • Monthly: $10 to $35 per month
  • Quarterly: $20 to $60 every three months
  • Annually: $50 to $200 per year

Some online dating platforms use a credit system. This means you pay for a certain number of credits that you can spend on the app. 

When your credits run out, you must purchase more. One online dating app that uses this kind of payment is Ashley Madison.

Pro: Increased Visibility and Matches

Based on my experience as an online dater, I would say that without a paid membership, an online dating account would be such a waste of time. I have tried the Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel apps, and in both apps, you can’t even see who likes your profile without subscribing.

Bumble logo
Bumble won’t let you see who likes your profile without a paid subscription.

Moreover, being a paid member gives your profile a leg up for meeting more people. The algorithm will boost your profile and give it priority in searches.

Con: App Fatigue

Have you ever gone to an all-you-can-eat restaurant? At first, you’re excited to try all the food, but after a while, it starts to feel overwhelming.

That’s what app fatigue in online dating feels like. The sequence of swiping, getting matches, starting a conversation, and trying to set some coffee dates can be draining.

If you start to feel burnt out, here are some tips:

  • Limit Your Time. Set a specific time limit for using dating apps each day. Turn off the notifications so that you avoid anxiety and don’t check the app every minute.
  • Take Breaks. Take breaks from using dating apps to recharge. If necessary, you can uninstall the app for a week or two.
  • Focus on Quality Over Quantity. Be selective with your matches and conversations. You want to connect with people you like, not win a popularity contest.

It takes persistent effort to get good results in online dating, and you never know when you’ll meet the right person and go on your last first date.

Pro: Enhanced Safety and Security Measures

Safety is always a concern with online dating. However, when you pay for a subscription, you enter an exclusive club where safety features have your back. Some of the security measures in online dating are:

Verified profiles

Paid memberships often include profile verification. You must show your face with your ID card. This way, the app ensures that everyone is who they say they are.

Advanced privacy settings

You can control who sees your profile and personal information. This will keep your information safe from people with malicious intent. Of course, the block and unmatch buttons are available to remove certain unsavory individuals.

Secure payment options

Dating apps will ensure your financial information is protected. In sensitive dating apps like Ashley Madison, your dating app subscription will appear on your statement as an innocent “online service” to avoid suspicion.

Such security measures are in place to handle fake accounts behind the scenes and allow you to put down your guard so you can focus on connecting with people in the database.

Con: No Guarantees

While online dating subscriptions can open doors to new connections, they’re not a shortcut to happily ever after. Keep in mind:

  • Your match isn’t your true love. They are a stranger with the potential to be a compatible partner. Approach every match with caution.
  • You will engage in many conversations, and only some of them will turn into real-life dates.  
  • Be open-minded and try to have fun. There’s no pressure in online dating, so enjoy every step as part of a future love story.

Approach your online dating journey with realistic expectations.  You will be a lot happier that way.

5 Factors to Consider

Before you pay for an app subscription, consider if it is in line with your budget, relationship goals, and values. Do some research to ensure you’re paying for a service that really works.

1. Budget

Your budget is crucial in choosing the right platform. Poor decisions can lead to more harm than good. Here are some questions to ask before picking a subscription:

  • How much does the subscription cost?
  • What’s included in that price? Are there any additional charges?
  • Are there any trial periods? Are there discount codes online?

Remember, finding love online doesn’t have to break the bank. If you’re not in a position to splurge, there are plenty of alternatives to meet new people in different ways. You just need to be creative and resourceful.

2. Relationship Goals

Online dating sites and apps cover different kinds of relationships from casual flings to serious relationships, gay and lesbian dating, cougar relationships, or other relationship types.

Know what you’re looking for before you choose a specific platform, let alone pay for a subscription.

Once you have a relationship goal, look for online dating platforms that suit you. These are tons of niche apps for all appetites.

3. Platform Reputation and User Reviews

When you’re going to buy something on Amazon, you’ll probably read the reviews before making the purchase. The same rule applies to online dating subscriptions. 

You can verify if certain platforms deliver what they promise by searching for success stories online. Then you can decide which platform resonates with you.

He swiped on me, and we fell in love!

Another way to learn about people’s opinions is by checking testimonials in the Apple Store or Google Play Store. You can see how many stars each platform has and how many reviews they get. 

Testimonials speak to the user experience, so this is a great way to see the big picture.

4. Trial Periods and Cancellation Policies

Before you enter in your credit card information, make sure you understand the app’s payment terms. Does the app offer a trial period? When will your card be charged? Will it renew automatically? 

Read the cancellation policy so you know what to expect.

Again, Google will be your best friend in finding this information. Promo codes and trial periods tend to get talked about a lot online.

For example, Match gives a lot of promos such as a free three-day trial for new users.

5. Compare Prices and Features

When choosing an online dating subscription, you should compare prices and features by reading online reviews. 

Everyone has their own priorities, and there’s likely a niche dating app to meet your special interests. For example, seniors can use OurTime to hang out with people in their age bracket.

OurTime logo

Those who prioritize religion can find their flock as well. There’s Christian Mingle for Christians, JDate for Jews, and IslamicMarriage.com for Muslims.

Fortunately, most major online dating services offer a diverse mix of potential matches. You don’t need to be overly picky about choosing a platform.

4 Tips for Maximizing Your Subscription Experience

Even with a paid plan, success isn’t assured. Online daters have to make the right decisions and informed choices to boost their odds of meeting a real person with romantic potential.

1. Create a Compelling Profile

Imagine you’re at a party where you don’t know anyone. If you want to have a good time, you must start a conversation. In online dating, your profile is how you introduce yourself and create a first impression.

Your dating profile is your introduction to potential matches.

What do you need to make a compelling profile? You need a decent profile picture, a catchy bio that showcases your personality, and details such as marital status, lifestyle, and education to indicate compatibility.

2. Consider Using Multiple Services

If you like coffee, do you visit only one café? Or are you always open to trying new coffee shops? Most likely, the latter is the case. After all, it’s always fun to try something new.

The same goes for online dating. Trying several apps at the same time can give you many choices and a broader perspective on your online dating quest.

I do this as an online dater myself. I’ve tried Tinder, Bumble, and Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB). And I have had different experiences on each app. 

Tinder users move fast: from saying hi to flirting in just a few messages. That scared me off. In CMB, I encountered a lot of fake profiles, so I stopped swiping. Bumble puts women’s needs first, so it’s the right place for me.

3. Keep Safety in Mind

Safety should be your top priority when you’re online dating. The biggest danger often comes from our clumsiness in oversharing personal information. 

Don’t share your address, your office location, your phone number, or even your favorite coffee shop.

Stay safe

You can share these details once you meet in person. Spill your details bit by bit. This approach makes your dating experience more secure and more interesting. The more dates you go on, the more you learn about each other.

4. Meet in Person ASAP

When you meet your match in person, choose a public place and go at a typical hour. Malls are my favorite date spots because we’ll be surrounded by a lot of people, and security will be around in case I need it.

Lastly, trust your instincts. If something feels off, end the date. Make an excuse and go home. You shouldn’t feel pressure to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.

A Monthly Subscription Can Up Your Dating Game

Online dating websites and apps aren’t a magic pill for your love problems. For results, you must put in effort to connect, talk to compatible matches, and finally meet up in person. With an online dating subscription, you can get a premium experience from the app.

Once you’re in, you can focus on the fun part: meeting attractive singles. We wish you good luck regardless of which dating subscription you use. Enjoy!