Best Free Online Dating Sites, Best Free Dating Sites For Men, Women, Best Free Dating Apps, Which Dating App Is Completely Free? Free Dating Sites No Payment
When it comes to dating apps, there are various business models used by companies to monetize users. Many claim to be free while others offer freemium business models whereby aspects of the app (core functions) are free but extras cost money. Below is an overview of the dating apps and what you can, can’t do on each app and which ones are the best for specific demographics.
Bumble Dating App Review – Is Bumble A Good Dating Site, Is Bumble Free, Does Bumble Cost Money?
Bumble not only has a great female to male ratio of users on the site (making it the best dating site for men), there is a verification process that other apps do not have and that is in the photo verification process of the registration process.
The other reason I like this dating app is that women no longer have to worry about getting messages from unwanted profiles. You decide which profiles you like and only those are allowed to match with you. If you don’t like a profile, they cannot message you.
The trade-off here is that women need to send the first message to matches to engage in conversation – additionally the window to do so before matches expire is 24 hours. Many women I know hate this part of the app but some like the control here.
At it’s core, that is all you need to do well on the app. If you have realistic expectations, avoid narcissists, travelers, influencers and spammers, you don’t need to pay for extras like superswipes, see who likes you, additional filters and more. You don’t need to pay for more likes if you are patient and avoid swiping outside your league.
Bumble Alternative Apps: Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel, The League
Recommended Demographics: 27-45, bigger U.S. cities mostly for those seeking something long-term, college educated, graduate degrees.
For tips on photos, prompts, premium features, first messages and how to reply to messages, check out my Bumble blog posts.
Match.com Dating App Overview, Is Match Free? Do You Have To Pay For Match.com?
Match.com despite its current lawsuits and investigations is still popular among late 30s-60s year olds primarily because of its desktop option.
A paid subscription is required to read and send messages but at least you can browse all profiles at once for free and see if it’s worth spending time and money on. Granted, for most people it’s not worth using but it can be good in some situations.
One key assumption you should make when using Match is that not everyone on the site is active nor is everyone a paid user (who can read, write and reply to messages). If I had to guess, I would expect half of profiles to be inactive and of the remaining half, only half of those are paid (so about 1/4 profiles are paid and active).
Recommended demographics: 30-60, relationship focused.
For additional tips, advice using Match.com: https://eddie-hernandez.com/category/match-com/
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Hinge Dating App Review: What Is Hinge, How Is Hinge Different? Is Hinge Free? Does Hinge Cost Money?
Hinge is perhaps my favorite dating app at the moment given it’s non-swipe focus (requires you to tap vs swipe) but also because of the quality of users. This dating app requires 6 photos which is great at eliminating profiles without enough photos and also provides excellent prompt possibilities facilitating conversations.
The biggest con about this dating app is that it is extremely buggy. There is a lot of confusion on whether likes and messages were sent and received as well as profiles appearing too much or if they ever will again if you accidentally mark no.
The other complaint is with profile bans and creating new accounts or using different login methods. If you lose phones, use a phone number you don’t have access to, have different info on Facebook than is actually true, your account might be flagged.
Also, if you try to re-create your account too often in an attempt to game the system so your new profile is shown to more people, your profile can be banned or at least penalized and shown to fewer users possibly. Don’t be creepy, don’t try to game the system, don’t lie about yourself and don’t lose access to your phone, email or Facebook account and you will be ok.
What’s great about Hinge is that you don’t have to wait for a match to occur, users can send comments with likes immediately. The core functions of the app are free and you don’t need to pay a dime to get likes, matches or go on dates if you have good photos, know how to smile, live in a populated area, dress well, know how to write well and have realistic expectations.
The benefits of paying for Hinge are advanced filters, ability to send more likes, send roses to standouts and see who likes you. Again, these are not needed if you are patient and are not insecure about knowing who likes you first before deciding to take action.
Hinge Alternative Apps: Bumble, OkCupid, Coffee Meets Bagel
Additional Reading: Hinge Premium Details, Costs
Recommended Demographics: 23-45, bigger for U.S. cities, mostly casual and long-term dating.
Tinder App Review – Is Tinder Free? Do You Have To Pay For Tinder?
Tinder is mostly known for casual connections, tour guides, pen-pals, flirting, IG followers, sharing memes, witty banter, immature conversations and hookups but it is definitely quite possible to meet a quality person for serious relationships on Tinder.
In some remote areas or those that don’t embrace technology as much as SF or NYC, Tinder is the only app with traction among users. It’s also the most widely used app out there (based on accounts not necessarily on actual users).
Some people who are new to dating apps will find Tinder at the top of search results and won’t think twice. Yes, it can be inefficient and frustrating but you can definitely find diamonds in the rough that are bombarded by creeps and welcome a breath of fresh air.
Again, with other apps, you can send likes, get matches on go on dates without paying a dime to Tinder. Of course, people are greedy, lazy, impatient and insecure and pay for boosts, superlikes, extra likes, travel modes and the likes which are not needed if you build a great profile (most people have bad profiles and would rather pay for bells and whistles than invest in themselves).
More info on Tinder here: https://eddie-hernandez.com/tinder-dating-app-review/
Tinder App Alternatives: Match, OkCupid, Hinge
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The League Dating App, Is The League Free? Do You Have To Pay For The League?
The League is a member-only dating app. Most people work in finance, tech, law, startup, advertising or other similar white collared fields. Many people have advanced degrees and are career-focused.
It’s not as superficial or self-absorbed as it used to be or as it appeared to be upon launch as it has greatly expanded beyond SF, LA & NYC into more secondary markets.
Despite the target audience, waitlist and premium fees, at it’s core, the service is free. Sure you get limited profiles shown daily and you might have to wait to get off the waitlist but if you know how to make a great dating profile and are patient, you can get likes, matches and dates from The League for free.
Recommended demographics: select cities where available, 27-55 age range.
The League Alternative Apps: Bumble, Hinge
Are Hinge Boosts Worth It? Is It Worth Paying For Bumble Boosts?
Yes, boosts might help you be seen sooner and might get you more likes and matches but these extra likes and matches are more likely to be lower-quality profiles i.e. bots, spammers, travelers, influencers, business folks selling services and the like. You are better off investing in yourself, your health, your wardrobe, your smile, your hygiene, hairstyle, grooming habits, your education, career and your lifestyle choices.
What Dating Sites Are Totally Free? 100% Free Dating Sites, Dating Sites Free Chat
There is no app that is 100% free and worth using. Any app that claims this is full of bs, malware, bots, spammers, or the like. If you are not paying for apps, you are the product. Again, you don’t need to pay for dating apps if you know what you are doing offline and online. For tips on how to do better with online dating, read this.
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About Eddie Hernandez
Eddie Hernandez is a dating consultant for men & women and a professional photographer based in San Francisco, servicing clients in NYC, LA, Chicago, and beyond as seen in the NYT, WSJ, SFGate, ABC7News & more.
Previously an analytics professional and user of dating apps himself, he possesses unique insight into the inner workings of dating apps and user behavior. He provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice, image consulting, date planning, screening profiles, ID'ing red flags, and offline techniques for meeting people organically.