In today’s world, dating can be difficult for some.
Before the digital age, one could try going to bars or other public places to try and find “the one,” but this doesn’t work as well now, especially with introverts. Fortunately, we live in a time that’s ruled by apps and services on our smartphones to help us find our soulmate.
However, with so many different dating apps out there, how do you know which one is the right one for you? Don’t worry, we’re going to break down four popular choices for you so you don’t have to guess which one fits your needs the best.
Tinder is the app of choice for most younger people. It’s a location-based platform that is currently only available as an app on both iOS and Android (web-based Tinder Online is coming soon). And while it has earned the reputation of being more of a hookup app for most, there’s more to it than that (we came up with several other ways to use Tinder).
Not everyone on Tinder is just looking for a one night stand, as there are some who are seeking serious relationships on the service. And others may just be seeking new friendships along the way.
How Do You Sign Up?
Since Tinder’s geared for mostly a younger demographic, the only way to sign up for Tinder is through Facebook Connect.
While this may be convenient for those who love using Facebook, it’s annoying for those who don’t have an account for whatever reason. Tinder does not have an option for signing up via email, so it’s either Facebook or nothing.
On that note, since Tinder essentially uses your Facebook profile, your Tinder profile photo will be the same. This means that if you want a more appealing picture on Tinder, you have to change your Facebook avatar too.
If you’re looking for a simple dating app, then Tinder is it. It’s the app that pioneered the popular swiping gesture that’s used by many apps nowadays to indicate a “like” or “dislike.”
With Tinder, it shows you photos from other nearby users. If you like what you see, give that mugshot a tap to bring up some more information about that individual. This profile info can make or break a decision. Like them? Then swipe that card right. Not interested? That’s okay — swipe left.
If it’s a mutual like, then you and the other person are able to send messages to each other. Otherwise, you can’t chat with that person.
Tinder’s aimed at ease-of-use and being fun. Users won’t be able to get too much information about someone just from their profile, so it’s harder to get into a serious relationship from Tinder alone. But if you’re just looking for some fun, then it’s great.
Tinder Plus and Gold
Anyone can sign up and use Tinder for free. However, like everything else that’s free, there are occasional ads that pop up as you use the app. But with Tinder Plus, you can get rid of the ads, as well as get some bonus features.
The biggest perk of Tinder Plus is the ability to send Super Likes to those folks you’re super into. You’ll also be able to “rewind” your last swipe in case you made a mistake or change your mind. Tinder Plus even allows the user to change their location within the app without having to be there physically.
These are some decent benefits, but how much does it cost? For one month of Tinder Plus, it’ll be $14.99 per month. The price per month shifts around depending on the bulk time you pick (i.e. six months or annual) and where you are.
Recently, Tinder also introduced Tinder Gold. This includes all of the Plus benefits, along with some new extras.
These include the monthly boost (be one of the most seen profiles in your area for 30 minutes), more profile controls, and Likes You feature. The last one is the biggest reason to get Tinder Gold: you can see who liked you already, and then pick-and-choose from that list.
Tinder Gold costs $24.99 a month, which may be worth it if you are always on Tinder.
OKCupid is a rather hip and trendy online dating service that features a web interface as well as mobile apps. It leans towards the younger crowd, similar to Tinder. However, it also draws in older people who are looking for serious relationships.
The key behind OKCupid rests in the matchmaking algorithms. Besides filling in the basics of a profile, there’s a ton of questions to answer in a wide variety of categories and topics. The answers you provide make it easier to find other people that you would likely be compatible with, based on a mathematical percentage.
OKCupid is rather fun and easy to use as a whole, so there is a lot of appeal to it. Plus, the most important features are available for free for everyone.
Signing Up With OKCupid
Anyone is free to make an account on OKCupid, as long as you have a valid email address. Optionally, there’s Facebook Connect, if you don’t feel like having another login to keep track of.
Once that’s done, it’s time to fill out your profile! OKCupid focuses on information about you, so you can fill out details about your appearance, a self summary, favorite things, what you’re good at, what you’re doing with life, and more.
It also asks you a few random questions. Your answers are used in the algorithm to find others similar to you. Then OKCupid shows you a few profiles and asks you to “like” a few of them so it can identify your type.
After these few steps, users are free to explore OKCupid on their own.
Again, OKCupid works best when you answer the questions in different categories on your profile. The more answers you provide, the more accurate your matches end up. These questions range from various lifestyle topics to religion to sexuality.
While some of the questions that may pop up seem silly or personal, it does help weed out incompatible mates.
There are two ways to find other profiles in OKCupid: Quick Match or Search.
Quick Match is more Tinder-style, where you see a profile card with the individual’s photo, as well as a brief excerpt of their bio. The match percentage (from zero to 100) is also in an easy-to-spot circle, so you can get an idea of compatibility in a single glance. Tap anywhere on the profile to view the full details.
If you like what you see in Quick Match, you can swipe right to Like them, or swipe left to say “nah.” With Quick Match, it’s a fast and fun way to go through many profiles quickly — you never know if your true love is there!
The regular Search section lets users go through different categories, such as Match Percentage, Last Online, Enemy Percentage (opposites attract), and Nearby. There’s also the Special Blend that gives you matches after you play a quick mini-game of answering a few questions in 15 seconds, which can be interesting.
If none of those sound good, there’s traditional filters that you can toggle. The filters let users find matches by physical height, ethnicity, personality traits, vices, and more.
Anyone can chat with you on OKCupid, which may lead to some spam or unwanted messages. Fortunately, there are controls to delete a conversation, block, or report someone if need be.
Mutual likes end up in your chat section, so it becomes easier to start up a conversation once you work up the nerves to talk to a potential date.
OKCupid is perfectly functional for most with just the base, free version. But it does have the regular A-List and Premium A-List tier, which get you a ton of useful features at a price.
Since OKCupid uses dynamic pricing. The cost for both A-List levels depends on user’s gender (here’s what it’s like to be a female on a dating site), location, age, and even attractiveness.
The basic A-List gives you the following upgrades: no ads, more search options, a full list of everyone who has liked you, message read receipts, and a bigger mailbox. Pricing for the regular A-List option starts at $9.99 a month (for me), and you get cheaper rates if you purchase time in bulk.
For the Premium A-List, you get all of the benefits of regular A-List, along with some extras. These Premium additions include: one free boost each day (puts you at the front of matches during peak hours), see other’s answers to questions before you answer, more attractive people see your profile, and your messages have top priority in recipient’s mailboxes.
But using Premium doesn’t come cheap, of course. One month of Premium A-List costs $24.99, three months at a time has a rate of $23.33 a month, and six months is around $19.99 a month.
When someone thinks of a dating service, Match.com may be one of the first ones that comes to mind. This is because it’s been running since 1995, making it one of the oldest options available.
Match.com is a site that’s geared towards those who are serious about finding their soulmate and a real relationship. It draws in an older crowd compared to the competition, and most of the functionality of the service is locked behind the subscription paywall.
But if you’re serious about finding true love, this may be a small price to pay. After all, you always hear about how Match.com has led its users to more dates, relationships, and marriages than its competitors.
With Match.com, it works similarly to OKCupid in terms of messaging and browsing. However, it has its own set of quirks that make it stand out from the rest.
Signing Up on Match.com
Like OKCupid, Match lets users sign up via an email account. You should also provide the basics like birthday, country, and zip code — you know, the necessities.
But that’s not all to signing up on Match.com. To get you set up, Match requires a bit of personal information from you before throwing you out into the dating pool. These bits of info include things like the age range you want and distance apart.
Then come the questions. It’s similar to OKCupid, but definitely not as silly. The questions that Match asks users are more along the lines of describing yourself as a person and what you’re looking for in a partner.
The questionnaire covers a wide variety of topics, and you must fill it out before you can get much use out of the service. But trust us, the results can definitely be worth it.
Find Your Match
Unfortunately, if you don’t pay for Match.com, you’re going to have incredibly limited usage. But if you end up paying for the service, then a whole world of possibilities opens up for you.
Match.com is quite similar to OKCupid in terms of messaging and browsing, but has some unique quirks that are substantial enough to differentiate the two.
With Match.com, the primary focus is on Mutual Match, which is determined when your preferences line up with someone else’s preferences. A good example of how this works is with a 100 percent match, which means you meet all of their requirements and they fit all of yours.
Another feature is Reverse Match, which is only based on what the other person is looking for. This means that you’re a match for someone, but that someone may or may not be a match for you.
There are also Communities on Match. These Communities help you find other individuals who like the same things as you, such as sports teams, political affiliation, religion, ethnicity, and more.
To spice things up every day, Match also has Daily Matches. These are matches (about 10 each day) hand-picked specifically for you based on what you’re looking for, as well as the other person. The profiles that show up change every 24 hours, so this is a fun way to keep you coming back.
Get the Most Out of Match With a Subscription
Unlike the other dating apps we’re covering here, Match.com is super restrictive on what you can do for free. To get the most out of the service, you will need to pay for a subscription, and this isn’t exactly cheap.
With the basic free membership, users can only view daily matches, browse and like profiles, send Winks (think of a Facebook poke), see who winked at you, and favorite someone’s profile. That’s right, you can’t even send messages to others (a key part of a dating platform) unless they message you first and have paid for a subscription addon that lets the recipient use a Reply for Free mailbox.
So how much is a subscription? Match.com is one of the more expensive options, as it starts at $42.99 a month. If you go three, six, or 12 months, then the prices are $27.99, $24.99, and $21.99 a month, respectively.
But that’s not all. Match.com also has addons that we mentioned earlier, which range from $3.99 to $9.99 a pop. These addons include guaranteeing that anyone can reply to your messages, read receipts, texting without sharing your phone number, and more. If any of these entice you and you go for it, then they add up quickly to your monthly total.
The cost of using Match.com may keep the scammers and bots away, so only serious people seeking real relationships are on the site. But it’s still a rather hefty price to pay compared to the competition, which let you do a lot of essentials for free.
Happn is relatively new to the online dating app scene. It aims to replicate the serendipity of real life, almost like a “missed connections” kind of thing. You know, without the cringe factor.
Like Tinder, Happn is a location-based service, except it focuses on the people that you’ve crossed paths with throughout the day, with a range of 250 meters.
With Happn, the app uses your phone’s geolocation to determine where you are and have been. With this, it’s able to detect other Happn users that are near you at the same time. You end up with a chronological timeline of profiles belonging to people you passed by, and Happn even tells you how many times this has happened.
Thanks to Happn’s unique approach to online dating and real-life connections, you’ll never miss out again.
Signing Up for Happn
Like Tinder, the only way to join Happn is to have a Facebook account, as it only uses Facebook Connect. So if you prefer to not use Facebook for whatever reason, then you’re out of luck with Happn, as it’s impossible to create an account with just an email address.
Once you log in with your Facebook account, just pick what gender you’re interested in dating and an age range. For Happn to work, you’re going to have to grant it access to your location, and it works best as it runs in the background so the app doesn’t always have to be open.
Since Happn uses Facebook for your account, it fetches bits of information about you from your profile and fills it in on Happn where appropriate. You can also add your own bio on the service, and change profile pictures as needed.
To maximize the efficiency of Happn, you’ll want to enable access to your phone’s GPS and also go about your day as normal. As you’re out and about, Happn detects if you’re near other Happn users, and it gives you a timeline of who you crossed paths with the next time you open the app.
As you view your timeline, Happn tells you how many times you’ve passed by that person, a rough approximation of where you both were, and a little bit about that them (name, age, profession, and photos). If you like what you see, then you can tap on the red heart to give them a Like.
Happn only allows mutual crushes to send messages to each other, so you’ll never get pulled into a conversation with someone that you don’t like. One will never know if they have a crush out there unless the feeling’s reciprocated. But you can also send a Charm to someone if you want them to notice you. If all else fails, then it’s best to assume that the other party isn’t interested.
Then there’s Crush Time, which is a mini-game in Happn geared towards finding who likes you. Each round consists of four profile cards, and you’re to guess which one of those four people have a crush on you. If you guess incorrectly, you can try again but it’ll cost you a credit.
The credits in Happn are rather scarce and limited, so you’d best not waste them. They’re used to send charms to people who you want to notice you and get more guesses in Crush Time.
Like the others, Happn has it’s own premium tier membership with a few unique perks.
As mentioned earlier, credits are hard to come by once you’re low or completely out. If you get Happn Premium, you get five credits daily and can send charms to (hopefully) get noticed by someone you fancy. You’ll also be able to use credits to respond to the availability of those you’ve crossed paths with. Finally, you get an ad-free user experience.
But how much does Happn Premium cost? You can get a month for about $20, with the price-per-month going down to $16 and $12 for three and six months, respectively.
If you just want to get more credits without premium features, there are in-app purchases for credits. These range from $1.99 for 10 credits to $36.99 for 250 credits.
What’s the Right Dating App for You?
We’ve covered four of the more popular dating services out there, but which one is the best for your needs?
If you’re merely looking for a hookup and not a long-term committed relationship just yet, then it’s clear that Tinder is the way to go. It’s earned that reputation for a reason, you know.
For those who are seeking a long-term relationship, then OKCupid is your best bet. The app has is fairly robust with the free member tier. The A-List features enhance an already-solid experience.
Match.com is a good contender for serious relationship seekers, but the cost of entry is a bit steep, and you can’t do much without subscribing. It does have many successful results, but ultimately, it’s up to you whether those potential results are worth the high price.
Happn works best if you live or work in a busy city and have always wondered about “missed connection” opportunities. But the whole concept is based on people you pass by within a 250-meter radius doesn’t work well if you’re more in the suburbs or rural areas.
Online dating has become a pretty common and normal thing these days. You shouldn’t be afraid to venture out and try it. In fact, OKCupid is how I met my current beau and I couldn’t be happier.
Have you tried online dating before? Which services worked for you? Did you find “The One” for you online? Let us know in the comments!
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