A friend came to me recently asking to recommend some good free dating apps. She is currently going through a separation and didn’t want it to show up on a credit card bill (could you blame her!?) I posted back in January the Dating Apps to Try in 2017 which included Hinge, Bumble, The League, Happn, and Coffee Meets Bagel. All of these apps you can use for free, but have in-app purchases available. The good news is that these apps don’t have to directly charge your credit card- you can always buy an iTunes or Google Play gift card and load it to your account and then make the purchase!
My friend also doesn’t live in a big city which means that not all of these apps are currently available to her. I’m also going to skip Coffee Meets Bagel because for some reason this app does not appeal to me and I barely use it.
Free Dating Apps With Paid Upgrades Available
Where is it available: the US, Canada, the UK, India, Australia, Mexico, France, Germany, and Brazil.
Mission: “Inspired by love, and guided by authenticity, Hinge creates meaningful connections among those bold enough to seek real relationships.” Hinge is a free dating app with paid upgrades and subscriptions available.
What you get for free: 10 likes per day and you can set preferences on your neighborhood, age range, maximum distance, height, ethnicity and religion.
What you get if you pay for an upgrade: Unlimited likes, more preferences- children, family plans, education, politics, and vices- drinking, smoking, marijuana, drugs.
How much does it cost: 1 month for 12.99/mo, 3 months for $6.99/mo (Most Popular), and 6 months for $4.99/mo.
Bonus: Hinge’s blog has amazing topics like Why Don’t I Ever Get a Second Date? I recommended this app to 2 different friends who are in long term relationships with men they met on Hinge.
Where is it available? As far as I can tell, everywhere.
How it Works: “Connecting has never been more fun, safe, or awesome. Bumble shows you the people you want to see and lets you connect by a mutual opt in by swiping right. Bumble eliminates that level of awkwardness after a connection is made, and sets the stage for how the convos begin. The woman always makes the first move [Need help with this? Check out my What to Message a Guy on Bumble post], and if she doesn’t say something to a new connection within 24 hours, that connection disappears forever!” Bumble is a free dating app with paid upgrades and subscriptions available.
What you get for free: Free matches (dating and BFF which is for meeting friends). If you don’t message within 24 hours though you lose the match!
What you get if you pay for an upgrade: “Bumble Boost” is the premium feature which unlocks users that have swiped right on your profile allowing you to choose to match with them immediately. You can also re-match with expired connections and have unlimited chances to extend matches. This includes extending the time you get to send that first message.
How much does it cost? The optional subscription for Bumble Boost is $4.99 for 7 days, $9.99 for 30 days, $23.99 for 90 days, and $35.99 for 180 days.
Bonus: Bumble is working on a career networking app called Bumble Bizz! In September 2016 Bumble became the first app with a photo verification process. To be verified, users are asked to submit a selfie of them performing a specific pose, the picture is reviewed by a real person who ensures the user is the person in the profile pictures. Bye bye catfish! I also loved when they offered to reimburse any women who went out with a man that was dining and dashing all over LA:
Classy move @bumble! 🙌 🐝 #Reposting @bumble with @instarepost_app — Our goal is to protect wonderful people from the ridiculous behavior permissible in the dating world. If you fuck with our incredible users, we will take you down and keep you off of Bumble. Be nice or leave or we will force you to leave. You don’t get to use our platform to be creepy. That’s not how this thing works. Our users’ time and energy is valuable and we won’t stand for anyone wasting it. We love each and every one of our users so don’t mess with them. #BoyBye
Where is it available? Big cities- LA, NYC, SF, Atlanta, Miami, Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Diego, Denver, Philadelphia, Seattle, Boston, and Toronto soon.
What The League is All About: “So you want to date someone who shares your education level and ambition? And maybe, just maybe, you’d like them to be in your same neighborhood, attractive enough to at least look good in black-and-white photos, with a height that meets your way-too-restrictive height preferences. Perhaps you also want them to share your religion as well. While your mother may call you picky, we call you self-aware. It’s about to be happy hour, so go get ’em.” The League requires you to link both your Facebook and LinkedIn profile. The League is a free dating app with paid upgrades and subscriptions available.
What you get for free: Up to 5 potential matches delivered daily at “Happy Hour”. The League also has events and groups for you to connect with other users with similar interests.
What you get if you pay for an upgrade: There’s a few specific options for one time upgrades. With “Buy More Prospects” you get a second batch of prospects to scout for $6.99 (so you’d go from 5 to 10 potential matches that day). “Boost my profile” non-boosted profiles are shown 3-5 times per day, but after boosting your profile will be shown to 50 people that fit all of your preferences which can increase your matches on average 3x within the next few days for $24.99. When you become a League Member you get access to your stats and profile feedback from your concierge, get expedited review upon joining (you can sometimes be on the wait list for the League for months), get read receipts to see if your matches saw your message, receive 2 extra prospects each day, and you get first round invites to events.
How much does it cost? Annual dues are $199.99 which is about $15 a month, but you have to pay the dues up front for the year long membership. This is not great motivation for people to find relationships…
I’ve been using The League the most, but it’s pretty rare right now that guys are actually continuing conversations or asking me on a date.
HAPPN Dating App
Where is it available? I believe everywhere.
How does HAPPN dating app work? HAPPN is a free dating app with paid upgrades available.
1. Every time you cross paths with someone in real life, their profile shows up on your timeline! 2. You can check out the profiles on the timeline whenever you want. You’ll be able to see the number of times you’ve crossed paths with someone, as well as the time and place of your last encounter.
3. There’s someone you like? Like them secretly: they won’t find out… unless the interest is mutual! But you can also choose to be noticed by sending Say Hi.
4. And when you’ve both liked each other, you have a Crush, which allows you to start a conversation.
What you get for free: Unlimited potential matches to scroll through (at least there are in a big city like LA), free messaging of matches.
What you get with an upgrade: You can use HAPPN credits to “Say Hi” to people who haven’t yet “liked” you (you can only message people you match with otherwise). HAPPN currently uses (sometimes very annoying) ads to make money so this “Say Hi” feature isn’t a huge help. It looks like HAPPN will be rolling out a subscription plan soon.
Bonus: Read more about HAPPN on my previous blog post about it.
Description: “More than just a dating app, Tinder has been updated to become one of the most engaging, fun and social apps around.” You can still swipe right if you like someone and left to pass. Tinder is a free dating app with paid upgrades and subscriptions available.
What you get for free: You can still swipe individual matches, but now you can also Swipe With Friends. Swipe With Friends involves inviting your friends to go out then swiping and matching with other groups who want to meet up. You can create a group chat to make a plan. This sounds like a feature for young people which I think is Tinder’s target demo- if you have used this feature PLEASE let me know! It reminds me of Grouper.
What you get if you upgrade: Tinder Plus has Passport where you can match all over the world, Rewind for second chances, one free Boost per month to be the top profile in your area for 30 minutes, and additional Super Likes. The new Tinder Gold includes the Tinder Plus option and has added a “Likes You” feature so you can see you likes you before you swipee.
How much does it cost? Tinder Plus is $9.99/mo, Tinder Gold is $14.99/mo. It says it’s “currently testing in Argentina, Mexico, Canada, and Australia and will be available in more countries soon.”
Bonus: Tinder has an Apple TV App – you can now swipe on your TV!
Where is it available? Everywhere as far as I can tell.
Description: “OkCupid is the only FREE dating app that knows you’re more substance than just selfie.” You answer questions and then can browse users based on match percentage. This is not a “swipe yes or no” app.
What you get for free: You can browse profiles and send messages, no number limits as far as I can tell.
What you get if you upgrade: On OkCupid you used to be able to browse profiles invisibly and see who viewed your profile with a paid upgrade. They took these features away and from the reviews it seems like these lurkers are pissed. If you join the “A-List” you can use advanced search options and filters, see if your messages were read, and change your username.
How much does it cost? 1 month for $9.99, $23.99/3 mo, $29.99 for 6 mo, $39.99 for 12 mo.
I used the OkCupid website about 8-ish years ago, but haven’t used the app yet.
What’s your favorite free dating app?