Dating on a budget can be tricky. Even if you stick to coffee dates rather than dinner dates, the cost of going out consistently can pile up, and it’s even more costly if you’re paying for a dating service subscription. Dating sites and apps abound, but finding dating apps with free messaging is getting harder every day. Different dating platforms have rules and limitations on matching and chatting, and it isn’t always free to slide into a single person’s DMs.

Some mainstream apps still offer the chance to find a potential match and contact them without getting your credit card out. Our experts agree that these dating platforms offer the best options for free instant messaging, whether you’re looking for a one-night stand or a happily ever after.

Best Dating Apps With Free Messaging Options

Let’s get right to it. The following dating apps offer enough free messaging to get new users started in the online dating world. These popular apps help singles mingle on their terms.

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★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • Match is the world’s longest running dating site
  • The Discover section has search filters by interests, looks, lifestyle, and more
  • Match is available in 50 countries and 15 languages

Match has been around for a long time, and the online dating site continues to rank high on lists of the best dating sites and apps for good reason. Membership is free, whether you use the mobile app or the dating site, and as a basic member, you get access to some free messaging options.

The flagship platform for the Match Group allows users to message their Top Picks for free, with no limitations. Your Top Picks are the profiles that Match selects because of their high compatibility rating based on your details, preferences, and responses to other suggested matches. Since these Top Pîcks are curated by Match, you don’t get a say in which users are included, but they make up your most compatible potential matches, so they’re a good bet.

2. Facebook Dating

When Facebook announced the launch of its dating app in 2018, the move made sense. After all, Facebook Dating had access to lots of data and interpersonal networks through the social media giant, and the architecture that made Facebook popular translates well to a dating app atmosphere.

As you might expect, Facebook Dating offers free, unlimited messaging with potential matches on the platform, through the instant messaging systems Facebook already has in place. Although it’s one of the strongest options when it comes to free dating apps, there are some  drawbacks. Even after several years, Facebook Dating doesn’t have a huge user base, and you have to have the Facebook app installed on your phone to gain access to the dating site.

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★★★★ 4.0/5.0
  • Supports active daters in 190+ countries
  • The swiping system creates over 12 million matches per day
  • Tinder Plus members have unlimited likes and 5 Super Likes

Tinder has a longstanding reputation as the free hookup app of choice for millions, despite the fact that many people meet their future spouses on the platform. It may not be the best dating app for people looking for long-term relationships, but it does offer plenty of opportunities to chat and get to know a potential match on the platform.

Anyone on Tinder can chat for free, provided you and the other person both swipe right. Once you establish a mutual match, you can message back and forth, including video chat and voice chat options, with the other person without restrictions.

If you’re willing to pay a little more, Tinder Plus offers extra benefits that broaden your pool of chatting partners. You get unlimited likes and unlimited rewinds, and you can swipe outside of your local area. With Tinder Gold and Platinum, you also get access to Super Like up to five people per week. But if you want to keep things free and easy, you can stick with the basic membership. 

Hookup Apps With Free Messaging & Chats

When you’re online looking for a one-night stand, the last thing you want to run into is a paywall. Hookup sites and apps often use subscription models to keep unwanted spammers and scammers at bay, but not all adult dating sites are totally pay-to-play. We’ve collected our favorite sex-positive spaces where messaging is free for some or all members.

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★★★★ 4.2/5.0

Ashley Madison takes an interesting approach to preventing fake profiles and scammers, which is to offer free messaging to only a portion of the members on the site and app.

Women on Ashley Madison get the full run of the platform free of charge, so they can send as many messages as they want to whoever they want. For men on Ashley Madison, the situation is a little different.

Instead of a premium subscription, the affair dating site offers packages of credits, which users can spend on what they like. Men will need credits to access their messaging options. Ashley Madison does offer a free trial period wherein men can read each first message they receive in their inboxes for free, but they can’t respond or send messages without credits. 

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★★★★ 4.1/5.0

BeNaughty is a hookup site that doesn’t shy away from adult content; it offers spicy photos and videos right up front. Women on BeNaughty only have to provide a profile photo to gain access to unlimited free messaging on the platform, whether on the site or the mobile app available through the Google Play Store. You won’t find it on the App store, but the hookup site is mobile-friendly.

Men on BeNaughty can send five free messages per day. To gain full access and message anyone you want as many times as you want, you’ll need one of the premium membership packages. The Chataholic package gives you access to unlimited messages, as well as read receipts and other communication-related tools. The Premium Dater gives the same benefits as the Chataholic, plus benefits that come with the Extra Security package like browser history clearing, incognito mode, and encryption. 

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★★★★ 4.1/5.0
  • Free, unlimited communication for everyone
  • Singles can swipe or search for a compatible date
  • Over 91 million connections every year

OkCupid is frequently ranked as the best free dating site for nerds, in no small part because nerds built the dating platform, which launched in 2004. A key draw for OkCupid is not just the personality quiz, but the fact that the platform remains dedicated to keeping core features free for all users.

When CEO Ariel Charytan took over in 2018, that emphasis shifted a little bit, but the core values remain intact. You can still send messages to anyone on the online dating app or site for free, but you’ll be required to adhere to a user-controlled restriction.

If you find a dating profile you like on OkCupid, you can send an initial message to introduce yourself right away. But you can’t send another message until after the other user replies. 

Dating Apps With Free Limited Messaging

Free messaging comes with trade-offs in the online dating world. Sometimes letting any random person with an email address into your DMs isn’t actually the best way to find a potential match. If you don’t mind some limits on the messaging options available if it means more quality matches, then following dating apps and sites may strike the right balance for you.

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★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
  • Over 2 million monthly users
  • Premium members receive 20 wildcard matches a day
  • Search features include age, height, education, ethnicity, and lifestyle habits

Although Elite Singles has a highly selective process to approve new members, you don’t have to pay to gain access to the online dating site. You can sign up, set your preferences, browse profiles, and receive matches all without paying. But when it comes to messaging, your options for free communication are pretty limited.

Sending a wink to an Elite Singles member is free, and you can send as many winks as you want. When it comes to messaging, basic members can read messages sent to them by a premium member, but you cannot reply or send messages without a premium membership. 

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★★★★★ 4.7/5.0
  • Over 2 million people have found love here
  • Users can filter their match recommendations by age or city
  • Compatibility Quiz identifies common interests, lifestyles, and goals

The team behind eharmony wants members to be serious about finding long-term love, and the platform definitely isn’t the best hookup app out there. This extends to communication on eharmony as well. Like many of the best dating apps, eharmony offers some free options for everyone on the platform to use, but other features require the commitment of paying for a premium membership.

You can take an Icebreaker quiz, or send a smile to anyone who catches your fancy on eharmony, and like on Match, the dating site offers very limited messaging between top matches. Premium members can contact anyone, at any time, and can also participate in enhanced communication options.

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★★★★ 4.3/5.0

For Christian singles who want to find the perfect match, Christian Mingle is a top choice for faith-based dating. Christian Mingle restricts the access free members have to communication options to make sure everyone is serious. As a free member, you can receive and read messages from premium members on the dating site, and you can send likes to get the attention of someone who seems interesting.

But only members who pay for Messaging+ have the ability to send messages to anyone on the site, anytime they want, and that subscription level also allows free members to reply. Be on the lookout for the Messaging+ icon on a potential match’s profile if you want to communicate without paying subscription fees. 

Christian Mingle success stories are full of people who fell in love because they took a chance on the dating service. It starts with a free membership, and it could end in a happily ever after.

FAQs: Why Do Mainstream Dating Apps Limit Free Communication?

Almost every popular dating app limits free messaging options for the same reason that clubs charge a cover fee: It’s a form of quality control and crowd management. 

Dating sites and apps that offer unlimited free communication tend to attract more scammers, bots, and fake profiles. These online dating platforms often end up spending a lot more time chasing down reports, and even then users often run into bad actors on the sites and apps.

Another reason a dating app may limit free communication is to encourage users to get straight to the point and schedule a date. For example, Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel both give members a limited time frame to message back and forth before the window for conversation closes. 

Which LGBTQ+ Dating Apps Have Free Communication?

Several dating apps for the LGBTQ+ community offer free communication, even if there are some limits. 

Grindr is the most popular gay dating app, and one reason for that is the free communication options the app includes. As with Tinder, you can chat for free with mutual matches on the app. Grindr XTRA gives you access to send messages to anyone and offers other perks like unlimited matches. 

HER is about fostering connections, as well as finding love, within the broader LGBTQ+ community. The app provides all core features, including chatting and joining communities, for free so you can meet and connect with queer folks around the world without paying a dime.

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★★★★ 3.5/5.0
  • A quirky and unapologetic womxn-only dating community
  • Queer events get users connecting IRL
  • The constantly updated Feed facilitates social networking

Lex is a dating app that rejects gender binaries and promotes community, so it’s no surprise that the app makes it easy to communicate for free. Users publish posts, like old-school personal ads, to get the attention of other Lex members. Every core feature, including replying to ads, is free, with no premium membership on offer.

TAIMI is a combination dating and social media app, with everything that comes with that territory. The LGBTQ+ singles platform lets users communicate through updates, posts, and live streams, in addition to one-on-one chatting options. You can send messages on an unlimited basis for free, but there are some restrictions on reading and replying to messages. 

Is Zoosk a Good Dating App for Free Communication?

Zoosk stands out from the free dating site crowd by offering more options for communication than most. When you find a promising new person to chat up, communication options include smiles, likes, direct messages, and even video chat. You can even go on a virtual date with your potential partner via Zoosk Great Dates, launched in 2021 as a response to travel restrictions and quarantines during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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★★★★★ 4.7/5.0
  • Send messages to premium members for free
  • Over 3 million messages sent a day
  • Premium perks include photo verification and sending virtual gifts

But if you want to stick with free communication, your options are more limited. The free version of the Zoosk membership lets you send unlimited flirts or smiles, and you can reply to messages other members send you. But if you want to gain access to the flashier contact options, you’ll need to purchase Zoosk coins or sign up for a premium membership. 

Zoosk coins give you the ability to pick and choose which features you want to pay for. That is a more budget-friendly option than if you were to pay a flat fee for everything. 

Is Free Messaging Safe on Dating Apps?

Yes, but you need to be extra cautious. If messaging is free on a dating app, that means practically anyone can join — for better or worse. Always keep in mind that you could be talking to a scammer, and never reveal any of your information until you have verified the person is real.

As I mentioned earlier, paid subscriptions go a long way to keeping fraudulent users out because they don’t want to pay. Many platforms also perform identity checks for paid members. So, while free messaging can be safe if you take the right precautions, a paid membership can provide much more peace of mind.

Free Chatting Can Be a Good Deal on the Right Platform

Finding dating apps with free messaging is trickier than it used to be, but with so many platforms out there, it’s definitely not impossible. Although free messaging tends to make it more likely you’ll encounter a fake profile or scammer, the best apps use verification, along with screening and reporting tools. And, of course, you can do your own vetting to make sure you’re talking to a real person.

Whether you’re looking for a long-term relationship, casual dating, or just a hookup for the night, a good free dating app with free communication options can help you find what you’re looking for no matter how tight your budget is.

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