Apple will allow third-party payment options on the App Store for the first time in the Netherlands. But specifically for dating apps. While very limited in scope, this is a significant first for Apple who has never conceded to such requests in the past.

The tech giant posted a new message on its developer site on Friday that announced it will comply with a ruling from the ACM (Authority for Consumers and Markets). The ACM is a consumer protection body in the Netherlands and has ruled that Apple must allow third-party payment options for dating apps.

Recent orders from the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will allow developers of dating apps on the App Store in the Netherlands to share additional payment processing options with users. To comply with the ACM’s order, we’re introducing two optional new entitlements exclusively applicable to dating apps on the Netherlands App Store that provide additional payment processing options for users. Dating app developers who want to continue using Apple’s in-app purchase system may do so and no further action is needed.


Of course, the story isn’t quite that straightforward. For a third-party developer to implement the feature, they must accept that they will no longer be able to access certain features of the App Store.

Before considering applying for one of these entitlements, it’s important to understand that some App Store features that you may use won’t be available to your customers, in part because we cannot validate the security and safety of payments that take place outside of the App Store’s private and secure payment system. Because Apple will not be directly aware of purchases made using alternative methods, Apple will not be able to assist users with refunds, purchase history, subscription management, and other issues encountered when purchasing digital goods and services through these alternative purchasing methods. You will be responsible for addressing such issues with customers.


The AppleTLDR take

Apple disagrees with the ruling from the ACM that requires them to implement the change and is appealing. And I have to say I agree. In what world does a high street retailer that sells third party products do so for free without taking a commission? If anything the third party pays the retailer to be featured in their store and even for better product placement on shelves at eye level. And with a move to third party payment options, it may lead to terrible customer experiences. For example if developers refuse to issue refunds, Apple won’t be able to help you anymore. But you can guarentee that the Karen’s of the world sure as hell will still expect Apple to help.

All that being said I’d take third party payment options over third party stores and all the inherent security risks that would come with them.

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