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When it comes to online dating, Match has been there since the beginning, arguably being the first dating site ever. The service launched in 1995, way before Tinder graced our smartphones. Since then, it’s evolved as online dating itself has, offering an easy-to-use website and mobile app with unique features and a comprehensive profile aimed at making deeper connections. 

An overview of Match.com.

Screenshots of the inside of the Match dating app.

In the early 1990s, entrepreneur Gary Kremen started Match.com in San Francisco as a digital version of classified personal ads. In fact, this idea was inspired by his own dating perils, as he struggled to find his own partner from newspaper ads, which were the norm back then. Since then, the online dating service has only grown in popularity and is now part of Match Group, INC., which also owns other dating services like Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge, and many others. 

Currently over 39 million people use Match.com, with a majority of members being ages 30 to 49 years old. However, per a 2018 report, the site’s fastest growing demographic is the 50+ age group, and 59% of Match.com users are single parents using the site to find love. And according to a 2019 report from PC Mag, Match.com is supposedly the most popular dating app in 17 states across the U.S.

These statistics all make sense and align closely with Match’s mission to be different in an “industry full of superficial games and detached behaviors,” as the website states. From my experience on the app, people seem less into hookups, and I didn’t receive any crude or hookup-y opening messages (compared to when I use Tinder, for example). People’s profiles are generally pretty detailed, suggesting that the users here are looking for something more serious than what a simple swipe on Tinder might provide. In that way, Match slows down the online dating experience from just quickly swiping to actually seeing who these people are.

Couple laughing at the beach.

It’s easy and straightforward setting up your profile on Match, but it will take some time to fill everything out—and the more you fill out, the better your matches will be. You’re given various prompts to follow to help with describing yourself, including details like your body type, if you have pets, your stance on cannabis, and how often you exercise. You also fill out a short summary and have the chance to answer three “topics,” which are questions or prompts (ex. “My best scar story was when…”) You can also list your “interests,” such as causes you believe in and “creative outlets” (hobbies like knitting or car restoration). Lastly, you can list what you’re looking for in a partner, like if you prefer someone with no kids. You can also add up to 26 photos—yes, that many.

Screenshots of the inside of the Match dating app.

Staying true to its origins, the website offers many ways to match with folks. The mobile app resembles Tinder in some ways, where you can “like” and mutually match or pass on someone. You can also use the search feature and add filters (such as age or distance) to browse profiles, or you can just wait and see who “likes” you. Match also allows you to search for potential matches based on interests, looks, marital status, education, lifestyle habits, and more, which is helpful so you don’t feel like you’re wasting your time sifting through dealbreakers.

What I found most unique are reverse matching and mutual matching features: The reverse matching feature shows the people looking for your likes, interests, and such, while mutual matching shows the people who fit your criteria in a partner. There’s a little sidebar called “You’re their type,” which shows users who are looking for matches like your profile states. Both of these features are available for free, which is nice. 

Overall, it’s easy to see all your matches and chat conversations on both the app and website. Unfortunately, the free version doesn’t allow you to message more than one person a day. All users can also videochat with each other in the chat feature called Vibe Check to build deeper connections. And one other unique feature: Match also offers free one-on-one phone calls with dating experts to help improve your profile and experience.

Screenshots of the inside of the Match dating app.

  • Many features and filters
  • Personalized match recommendations
  • Detailed profiles
  • Lots of photos 
  • One-on-ones with dating experts
  • Expensive if you want to use the app’s best features, like read receipts
  • Not as many active users as some other dating apps
  • Time consuming to set up

How much does Match.com cost? 

Match has many subscription package options to choose from. Their Standard Plan costs $19/month for a one-year subscription, which is their cheapest monthly rate. You can also purchase a single month for $46, though you’ll save more per month if you buy months in bulk.

You can purchase up to a year in advance and also add onto your subscription package at any time. There are also additional features like read receipts or “who’s viewed me” to purchase too.

Unfortunately, purchases are nonrefundable. However, the terms of use note that “you may cancel your subscription, without penalty or obligation, at any time prior to midnight of the third business day following the date you subscribed.”

The free version of Match is honestly just not worth it, in my opinion, but the paid version could be worth trying out for people who are willing to invest. On the free version, my overall experience was very okay. You get very limited features and abilities if you don’t pay, while you can message many more people for free on Hinge, Bumble, Tinder, and other dating apps. With the paid version, I felt like I could use the app more freely and browse many more folks, plus actually be able to message them.

About half of my matches responded to my messages, and all seemed friendly and excited to chat–though notably, there wasn’t a big selection. (For what it’s worth, I was swiping in both Hawaii and Los Angeles.) From my personal experience and from speaking with others, it seems like many matches aren’t that responsive. So, depending on where you live, the process may be slow, but it could definitely be worth it if you’re wanting to invest in your dating journey and try a new pool of people. 

A counterpoint to that: “In my experience, the subscription model and the cost of Match does deter people from using it,” says Chloe Ballatore, dating expert and owner of Chloe’s Consciousness Training. “Match is always in the top three, but it is number three. Most of my clients prefer Bumble or Hinge. Match got a little more popular during the pandemic, but now that people can go out and meet in real life, I’m finding that the cost isn’t worth it for many people.”

  • “I’ve had more success with Match than any other service; I find that having to pay to communicate is enough of a barrier to entry that it keeps a lot of the flakes away. YMMV, especially if you’re outside a metropolitan area.” -Soylent_G, Reddit
  • “I’ve tried it a few times. For something that isn’t cheap, I find it to be significantly worse than Bumble/Hinge.” -Fordo88, Reddit
  • “I joined Match only two months or so ago and I thought it would be more successful at my goals of finding a relationship because it seems like people on other apps are just trying to have fun and get laid. I have tried other apps and Match is good, but not the best. I think it just has the reputation behind it of people on there wanting more than just hang outs and hookups…One bad thing is that there is a paywall to people who may have potential but are not regarded as top picks…I don’t think I’ve had enough time yet and I haven’t met anyone from Match yet.” Cody, 26
  • “I joined [a few days ago] because my friend was also joining. I did Tinder and Bumble. It’s all the same to me.” – Jordan, 30
  • “My experience with Match was three years ago, but was overall positive. There were a lot of inactive profiles, so I used the search feature sorted by activity date to find and like/message guys instead of the swipe feature. I also noticed that some guys seemed to use the ‘block’ feature as a way of hiding profiles of people if they decided they weren’t interested (i.e., see a like/message, scan your profile, block if they weren’t feeling you so that you don’t keep showing up in their swipe or search results).” – excellent_adventure_, Reddit
  • “Match worked great for me. Within 24 hours of signing up I’ve had close to a 100 messages (fresh meat?). Granted, I never read all of them but the conversations I did start, seemed like nice gentlemen. The person I have been dating for the past 6 months was a date from Match. And things have been going great.” – FinalBlackberry, Reddit 
  • “I had a customer service/dating coach phone call with Bailey. I wanted help with updating my profile and how to approach/receive more messages online. She was VERY helpful and so encouraging!!” -Nadia099, App Store 
  • “A friend asked me to try it out. So I subscribed but no real conversations or connections. Been on it for a few months.” – Kawai, 32

Other dating apps to consider.

For a simpler online dating experience, mobile dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge offer free services (and paid too, if you want) with more active communities. However, these apps usually feature shorter profiles and are sometimes considered hookup apps, so if you’re looking for something more long-term, you may need to wade through the crowd to find those looking for what you are.

A similar platform with vetted, more detailed profiles is eHarmony. OkCupid also shares some similar features to Match.com with generally more active users, depending on your location. 

(Here’s our full list of the best dating apps to try right now.)

Couple laughing at the beach.

Match is a good option if you feel like the free apps are just not doing it for you–just get ready to pay up. People who want to see someone’s entire profile laid out there before even matching will like Match as they search for a romantic spark.


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