Choosing a dating service

We can help you think about what you want from a dating service, what to look for and how to find a service committed to standards and good practice to give users a safe and great experience.

Dating Apps and services vary in terms of their size and the membership mix. They may serve a very specific user base, perhaps based on age, locality, faith or social interests. Some

may be clear they are for people seeking serious long-term relationships while others may give a far more casual vibe and seem to cater for those wanting to meet up fast for fun but nothing more serious.

It’s not for the ODA to point people towards particular services, but we hope our advice helps you in a choosing a service:

Think about what you want from the dating service

Are you looking for romance or a bit of fun or a new adventure? Do you just want to meet those with shared interests or are you looking to broaden your horizons? You will want services that match your wishes.

Chat with friends

Many will have been on services and will have their own experiences to share. After helping you work through what you want, they might help you create a profile and get started. A bit of guidance, support or a second opinion never harmed anyone!

Shop around before committing

It’s possible to download apps or tour a service online to get a feel for it before making any serious commitment and payment. Are the profiles you see interesting, in line with what you may be looking for – and realistic. Independent third party services like Trustpilot might be a help. Remember some “Review” services might be commercial and scoring services with less objectivity.

Understand who operates the service

Many brands will be familiar but with thousands of services in operation others will be less known. Take a look at any “About us” page they may have or their social media pages. A good service will be clear about who runs it, how its run, who it’s designed for, where charges apply etc. If you are not clear on these points it may be best to look elsewhere.

Look at what is said about your personal information if you join up

You are likely to have to give consent to data use that is needed to make services work. But take a bit of time to read the “T&Cs” to understand if your information might be shared with others within a company’s group of dating services or across a range of services. This might add to the number of people on the App or service, but it is something you should be aware of.

Keeping daters safe

Look at how the services address safety online. Most daters are online for the right reasons and to have a good time, but there are those who are less well intentioned. All responsible services will explain what they do to prevent wrongdoing and share advice on how you can stay safe online.

Understanding subscriptions

If payment is required then services are likely to charge by a subscription model for use of some of all of the service. Payment offers vary in price based often on the length of a subscription. Take the time to understand the options including cancellation arrangements so you make as informed a choice as possible.

Look out for the ODA member logo and use our Check a Site tool

ODA member services have committed to high standards and good practice to give users a safe and great experience.

Look out for the ODA logo on the apps and services you might try out. It is one piece of assurance you are dealing with a business that supports our work on standards and efforts to build trust and confidence in services that account for about a third of all new relationships!

Our Check a Site tool will help you find if a dating service you are planning to use is an ODA member.


Advice and Tips for Dating Safely Online