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Tinder Rolls Out In-App Currency to Encourage Real Spending

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(Bloomberg) -- Tinder is rolling out a virtual currency to encourage users to spend more time swiping, scrolling and eventually spending real money on the most popular dating app in the U.S.

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Initially available only in Australia, the in-app “coins” can be acquired as users remain active on the platform or keep their profiles up to date. They can also be bought with regular money. The coins can then be used to step up a user’s profile by purchasing Tinder’s perks such as Super Likes or Boosts, which can help increase the chances of finding a good match.

Dating apps typically run on a “freemium” model, providing basic services without charge and making money when users buy a subscription or pay a la carte for extra features, like unveiling people who have shown mutual interest in each other and applying more granular filters to narrow the dating pool.

The in-app currency, which will be available later this month, is part of Tinder’s efforts to create a richer experience for people online, moving beyond just its traditional “swipe right” method for finding a romantic partner. Tinder, owned by Match Group Inc., expects the virtual currency to enable more opportunities to earn money from the app. Chief Financial Officer Gary Swidler said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call that Tinder users’ “propensity to pay has improved significantly.”

The company expects the coins “will play an important role as the Tinder experience evolves and becomes more immersive, because virtual currency is useful in the context of gifting digital goods,” Swidler said in a statement to Bloomberg. The virtual currency will be “particularly well received by our members in Asia, who are less used to subscription products,” Swidler said.

Tinder tested the currency feature in small markets in the second quarter, and was encouraged by the results, Match Group Chief Executive Officer Shar Dubey said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call in August. Tinder is rolling out the virtual currency in Australia first because it’s a market that is representative of the company’s global member base, a spokesperson said.

Match Group’s shares are up about 5% this year, compared with a 16% gain in the S&P 500 Index.

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