Apple To Allow Third-Party Payment for Dating Apps in the Netherlands; but With Some Caveats

BY Anu Joy

Published 18 Jan 2022

Back in December last year, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) found that Apple’s App Store breached the country’s competition rules. The Dutch regulator ordered that the iPhone maker must allow third-party payment methods for dating apps. Following the ruling, Apple finally agreed to allow local dating apps to transact via non-native iOS payment options.

On Friday, the Cupertino-based company informed developers of the App Store changes for Netherlands. The statement detailed that it is introducing two new optional entitlements exclusively for dating apps — StoreKit External Purchase Entitlement for third-party payments within the native iOS storefront, and StoreKit External Link Entitlement for managing payments on the web via in-app links.

Apple also warned that if the dating app developer applies for one of the entitlements, they will have to forego some App Store features such as “refunds, purchase history, subscription management, and other issues encountered when purchasing digital goods and services through these alternative purchasing methods.”

Apple also published a document clarifying how it will be implementing alternative payment methods for dating apps in the Netherlands. It is to be noted that local developers opting for a third-party payment method will still have to pay Apple a commission.

Apple noted:

Consistent with the ACM’s order, dating apps that are granted an entitlement to link out or use a third-party in-app payment provider will pay Apple a commission on transactions. More information on all aspects of the entitlements will be available shortly.

The document also added that these developers “will need to submit a separate app binary for iOS or iPadOS that may only be distributed in the Netherlands App Store.”

Our Take

Developers opting for a third-party payment options for dating apps will have to manage refunds, subscriptions, and also deal with issues arising from the alternate purchasing methods. Add to that the burden of developing a separate dating app specifically for the Netherlands App Store. And even after jumping though these hoops, they’ll still have to pay Apple a commission on every purchase. Developers will be able to ascertain if the effort is worth it, once Apple quantifies the commission it will charge on every transaction.