Over the last decade, the amount of people dating online has surged immensely. What once had a stigma attached to it now has become mainstream. People have found that dating online takes much of the guesswork out of meeting new people. Traditional sites such as Match.com have been modified to a more focused approach in sites such as Tinder. We have even seen a rise in the very specific dating sites that target certain races, religions, sexual orientation and pastimes. No matter if you like the concept or not, online dating has become the new norm to meet that special someone.
New online dating sites can present a higher level of risk for payment service providers. This is mainly due to the fickle nature of the customers that use these sites. Some customers may pay the monthly fee, only to be unimpressed with the selection available or the overall results. Others may find a match very quickly and no longer have use for the site, and thus want to cancel their membership. Some folks have negative experiences with other users that make them want to abruptly cancel membership and obtain a refund. In all these cases, chargebacks can become an issue. A customer might have such a bad experience with a site that, instead of canceling and requesting a refund, they just call their bank and chargeback the order. High chargebacks can result in fines for the merchant, and if the problem gets large enough, the account could be terminated. To avoid this issue, merchants need to be sure they are offering their members a clean and easy refund policy. If members are able to cancel with a click of a button, there is much less of a chance they will dispute a charge. Online dating sites are also advised to credit partial refunds for the ultimate positive customer service experience. Another method to help keep customers happy is to offer a free subscription trial to the site. This way, customers can get the feel of the site and see if its what they are expecting before committing to a monthly membership.
Another challenge that online dating sites may face is the recurring payment model that most are offering. Recurring payments of any type can be an issue for merchants since their customers are automatically charged each month. Some customers may not be aware they are signing up for a monthly membership, and end up disputing the charge. It’s very important for site owners to ensure their customers are properly informed of the terms of membership and the cost of the monthly membership. Merchants would be wise to have a very recognizable descriptor as well so when customers see the charge on their credit card statements, they know who it came from.
Another issue that merchants may experience with running a dating site: The online reputation might be tarnished by unhappy customers. Once customers have a bad experience with a site, they are more likely to post this “feedback” to an online community. Dating sites need to be sure they are offering every member the best possible experience to avoid damaging the reputation of the service.
Running an online dating site definitely has its challenges, but with excellent customer service and very clear terms and conditions, merchants will save themselves from facing many of the above issues. Partnering with the right payment processing professionals will help merchants tackle the challenges of running an online dating website.