Apple will let dating apps offer third-party payment options in the Netherlands

Apple will let dating app developers offer alternative payment options in the Netherlands in line with the Dutch regulator’s decision, according to a report by Bloomberg. This will allow dating apps – and only dating apps – distributed in the country to potentially avoid Apple’s 15-30% commission on in-app purchases.

In a message to developers on its site, Apple explains that it is introducing two new optional “entitlements” or specific app capabilities, which will allow developers to add third-party payment processors for dating apps in the Netherlands. . Dating app developers can either direct customers to a website to complete their purchase or add a third-party payment service within the app. However, if developers choose to snub Apple’s payment service in favor of an alternative, Apple says it won’t be able to help users with refunds, subscription management, or any payment issues. .

There’s another, more concerning caveat, though – any developer who wants to add other payment options will need to create a separate version of the dating app only available in the Netherlands, as noted on a review page. developer support. Apple will still charge dating apps a commission for using external payment processors, but it’s unclear how much that will cost. “Dating apps that have the right to connect or use a third-party integrated payment provider will pay Apple a commission on transactions,” Apple writes. “More information on all aspects of rights will be available shortly.”

Apple has also appealed the decision of the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). “Because we don’t believe these orders are in the best interests of our users, we have appealed the ACM’s decision to a higher court,” says Apple. “We are concerned that these changes will compromise user experience and create new threats to user privacy and data security. In the meantime, we’re forced to make the mandatory changes we’re launching today and will provide more information shortly.

In December, the ACM ruled that Apple would allow dating apps in the country to offer third-party payment services, and if the company did not do so by January 15, it would face a $5 fine. million euros per week. The ACM began its investigation into Apple’s payment rules in 2019, focusing specifically on dating apps following a complaint from Match Group, which owns popular online dating services , Tinder, OkCupid and Hinge.

Apple’s payment policies have sparked controversy across the world, with South Korea introducing legislation requiring the company to allow in-app third-party payment services. Its restriction on alternative payment services is also the catalyst for the ongoing battle between Epic Games and Apple – a court order requiring Apple to allow external payment options has just been suspended after an appeal from Apple. Last year, Apple made a small compromise and agreed to let “reader” apps direct customers to external sites for subscriptions.

Updated January 15, 4:50 p.m. ET: Added clarification that Apple will require developers to create a separate Dutch-specific app binary in order to use third-party payment services, and will still take a commission on transactions that use external payment processors.

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