Apple will allow Dutch dating apps to use third-party payment options

The Dutch Consumers and Markets Authority (ACM) said on Saturday that Apple will allow dating apps to offer alternate in-app payment options on the Netherlands App Store, ending a dispute that has resulted in the company being fined €50 million.

The ACM said, with this concession, Apple will meet the requirements that Dutch watchdog set under European and Dutch competition rules. 

After the ACM issued a ruling in December 2021 requiring Apple to allow dating apps to use third-party payment systems, Apple said it would comply and introduced two optional entitlements for dating app providers in the Netherlands. However, the company said dating app providers using these entitlements must submit a separate app binary for iOS and iPadOS. 

The ACM said in February that Apple’s these terms are “unreasonable”. 

In January 2022, the periodic penalty payments started to kick in, and went up to the maximum of €50 million. 

The ACM says Apple now complies with the rules.

“In the digital economy, powerful companies have a special responsibility to keep the market fair and open. Apple avoided that responsibility, and abused its dominant position vis-à-vis dating-app providers. We are glad that Apple has finally brought its conditions in line with European and Dutch competition rules. That offers app providers more opportunities to compete. And consumers will ultimately reap the benefits, too,” said Martijn Snoep, Chairman of the Board of ACM. 

Apple on Friday revealed how developers of dating apps offered in the Netherlands can bypass Apple’s in-app payment systems. Under the rules, Apple said that dating app developers will be required to pay a commission for sales made outside of the in-app payment system, but will provide them with a small discount. The company said dating app developers in the Netherlands will pay a 12% commission when using alternate  in-app payment options.

“Developers of dating apps in the Netherlands can use the StoreKit External Purchase Entitlement, the StoreKit External Purchase Link Entitlement, or both entitlements,” Apple said. Users will see a warning saying that they should contact the developer over payment problems like asking for a refund. 

“We don’t believe some of these changes are in the best interests of our users’ privacy or data security,” Apple said. “As we’ve previously said, we disagree with the ACM’s original order and are appealing it.”

Written by Jordan Bevan

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