After Tinder's new premium charges: Other dating apps for Singapore's singles

The popular dating app tinder on Monday started charging for premium features, making older users pay more. -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE PLAY STORE 
The popular dating app tinder on Monday started charging for premium features, making older users pay more. -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE PLAY STORE 

The popular dating app Tinder on Monday started charging for premium features but the move has been criticised for making older users pay more, AFP reported. 

The app allows smartphone users to find partners based on their vicinity and age range by swiping to “like” potential matches. Users who both swipe right to "like" their potential matches are then able to contact each other.

Known as Tinder Plus, the new premium service has subscription fees varying by age and country. In the United States, users under 30 will pay US$9.99 (S$13.62) a month and older subscribers US$19.99. 

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, users may end up paying almost four times the US price, with those under 28 paying £3.99 (S$8.36) for the service.

Under the premium version, unlimited “likes" will no longer be free. Users will also have to shell out for features that previously let them undo swipes and connect with people in different locations.

Critics have quickly swiped left to Tinder's new tiered plan, with the tech blog Endgadget panning the pricing scale and calling it “sleazy.” 

Tinder itself has defended the move.

Spokesman Rosette Pambakian in a statement to AFP said the premium charges are not unlike those imposed by other web services. 

“Lots of products offer differentiated price tiers by age, like Spotify does for students, for example," she said. "Tinder is no different; during our testing we’ve learned, not surprisingly, that younger users are just as excited about Tinder Plus, but are more budget constrained, and need a lower price to pull the trigger.”

For singles reluctant to commit to a higher price plan, do check out some of the dating app options available in Singapore. 

1. Paktor 

Paktor, launched in April 2013, has emerged as a popular name and is one of the largest players in Asia. -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE PLAY STORE 

Among the handful of locally developed mobile dating applications that have surfaced in the past few years, Paktor - which means “to go on a date” in  Cantonese - has emerged as a popular name and is one of the largest players in Asia. 

While Paktor only launched in April 2013, it attracted about 40,000 users from Singapore alone within the first two weeks, Mr Joseph Phua, one of the app's co-founders told Business Times. As of October last year, the app boasted a seven-figure membership base, he told The Straits Times. 

Users need to have a minimum of 50 friends to sign up with Paktor. And in a similar concept to Tinder's, users can view pictures of potential matches, their age and find out whether they share mutual friends and interests via Facebook. They can then 'like' by swiping right or 'dislike' by swiping left. 

As a matter of privacy, however, the app does not post notifications on users’ Facebook wall.

Unlike Tinder's free service which restricts the number of likes, Paktor has unlimited liking capabilities and allows you to take back a swipe if you made a mistake. 

The service is also available in nine other countries, including Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Mr Phua said in July that the company started monetising the app by charging a small fee for people to send requests to start chats with other users who have not liked their profile. He had also said that more payable features were also in the pipeline.

 

2. Love Out Loud Asia (LOLA) 

Launched in November 2013, Love Out Loud Asia (LOLA), takes what it calls an "activity-based approach" based on date ideas. As of October last year, the app claims to have successfully matched more than 10,000 singles to date, the Business Times reported. -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE PLAY STORE 

Launched in November 2013, Love Out Loud Asia (LOLA), takes what it calls an "activity-based approach" based on ideas for dates to make the experience more about meeting up instead of just swiping right or left. 

LOLA simply requires you to create a profile using your basic information and interests in order to start using the app. Users will receive a notification with a suggested match each day at noon. Only one match is given a day because its focus is on those who are genuinely seeking a long-term relationship. This means users cannot search through its database of users. 

Users can choose to "Like" the profile or "Pass" on the match. If a mutual "Like" emerges, a private chatroom then allows the potential couple to get to know each other.

As of October last year, the app claims to have successfully matched more than 10,000 singles to date, the Business Times reported. It was also acquired by Lunch Actually, a pioneer in the dating and matchmaking industry in South-east Asia, that same month. 

3. Mat & Minah  

Dating app Mat & Minah for young Malay men and women follows the same concept as Tinder. -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM APPLE APP STORE 

For Muslim singles, there's the Mat & Minah app which was launched in September. The name is a cheeky nod to the colloquial slang for young Malay men and women and follows the same concept as Tinder, where users sync their Facebook accounts to the dating app.

Users can view potential matches by looking at their pictures, information such as age and occupation, as well as whether they have common Facebook friends.

Swiping the screen right of left helps users pick out a love match. Users have to pay to find out which users have “liked” them, regardless of whether there was a love match. The app is currently available only for iPhone users, although its developer Skimly has said it would also look into one for Android users. 

Mr Zuraimie Ismail, director of Skimly, said in The Straits Times that he produced the app in October last year to help out his sister and colleagues who at the time had not been hitched. "Most of them are not the sociable type and making new friends of the opposite sex is a big challenge. The Muslim community used to rely on parents for recommendations for partners, but this practice has declined. Using such an app provides a convenient way for them to get to know others in confidence," he said. 

4. Kehmistry

Available both in Malaysia and Singapore, Kehmistry allows people to use their current geographical location to look for profiles of potential matches within their vicinity. -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE PLAY STORE

For those who just need a bit of a push to strike up a conversation with a stranger they fancy at a cafe or a bar, the Kehmistry app aims to help them break the ice.

Available both in Malaysia and Singapore, the app lets people use their current geographical location to look for profiles of potential matches within their vicinity. 

That could mean potentially meeting The One at their local bookstore, coffee outlet, park or shopping mall. Kehmistry allows users to log in only via their Facebook profiles and users must have at least 50 friends. It is available only on Android. 

5. MeetDrinks

With the MeetDrinks app, users first take a selfie, provide their likes and dislikes as well as their location to know who are looking to have a drink in the same area. -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM GOOGLE PLAY STORE

Another app goes even further by setting up drinks for potential couples. The MeetDrinks app on iOS or Android essentially enables you to look for others with similar preferences and interests, and meet up for drinks.

Users take a selfie, provide their likes and dislikes as well as their location to know who are looking to have a drink in the same area.

The app will allow you to choose from a list of people with similar tastes within your area of preference. When there is a match, both users will be directed to a venue to meet for drinks. 

Users can even pre-order the drinks in the app and make payments in advance.Then it's up to the romantic hopefuls to strike up a connection. 

idayus@sph.com.sg