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

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According to a report by Apple, in accordance with the decision of the Dutch regulator, developers of dating apps will offer alternative payment options in the Netherlands Bloomberg. This allows dating apps – and only dating apps – to be distributed in the country to avoid Apple’s 15 to 30 percent commission on in-app purchases.

In a message to developers on its website, Apple explains that it is introducing two new optional “permissions,” or app-specific features, that allow developers to add third-party payment processors to 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 drop Apple’s payment service in favor of an alternative, Apple says it can’t help users with refunds, subscription management, or payment issues.

Apple has appealed the decision of the Dutch Consumer and Markets Authority (ACM). “Because we believe these orders are not in the best interests of our users, we have appealed the ACM’s decision to a higher court,” Apple said. “We are concerned that these changes could impact user experience and create new threats to user privacy and data security. In the meantime, we are committed to making the mandated changes we are initiating 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 didn’t do so by January 15, it would face a fine of €5 million a week. The ACM began its investigation into Apple’s payments rules in 2019, specifically focusing on dating apps following a complaint from Match Group, which owns popular online dating services Match.com, Tinder, OkCupid, and Hinge.

Apple’s payment policies have sparked controversy around the world, with South Korea introducing legislation requiring the company to allow third-party in-app payment services. Restricting alternative payment services is also what fuels the ongoing battle between Epic Games and Apple — a court order forcing Apple to allow external payment options has just been shelved after an appeal from Apple. Last year, Apple made a small compromise and agreed to let “Reader” apps direct customers to external sites for subscription sign-ups.

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