Apple Cracks Down On Dating Apps Using Alternative Payment Systems

Apple will charge dating app developers in The Netherlands, who are using an alternative payment system, a “reduced” commission that is set at 27% net of tax 9to5Mac reported. Apple typically charges 30% commission on purchases made using its In-App Purchase system.

According to 9to5Mac, the 27% commission was something Apple had to do to comply with a ruling from The Netherland Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM). Apple is still going to charge a commission on these purchases regardless. In short, Apple is doing the bare minimum of what The Netherland authorities required. 9to5Mac also reported that Apple is appealing the decision on the grounds of customer safety.

Apple provided information on its Developer blog with more specific details. It includes the following:

…Apple allows developers distributing dating apps on the Netherlands App Store to choose to do one of the following: 1) continue using Apple’s in-app purchase system, 2) use a third-party payment system within the app, or 3) include an in-app link directing users to the developer’s website to complete a purchase…

Apple notes that developers of dating apps (again, specifically in The Netherlands) who want to continue using Apple’s in-app purchase system may do so and no further action is needed. Things get complicated for those who want to use a different payment system. There appear to be a lot of hoops for developers of dating apps to jump through. If they get through all that, their dating app will still only be available on the App Store in the Netherlands.

Among those “hoops” involves requiring developers to provide a report to Apple reporting each sale of digital goods and content that has been provided monthly within 15 calendar days following the end of Apple’s fiscal month. Qualifying developers will receive an invoice based on reporting and will be required to remit payment to Apple for the amount invoiced within 45 days following the end of Apple’s fiscal month.

Overall, it sounds like Apple is intentionally making it harder for dating app developers in The Netherlands, who want to use a third-party payment system, to make money. They would have to pay Apple a commission price that is just barely under Apple’s typical commission price. Their dating app would only be available through The Netherlands App Store, further reducing the amount of people who could find it.