For the most part, using dating apps is a fairly straightforward process: Upload some interesting, flattering photos of yourself (paired with an alluring bio and question prompts), swipe yes or no for potential partners, and for those matches that do occur, wait for a conversation to start.
With Bumble, however, there’s one big caveat: It’s on the woman to start the convo. The site was founded by Whitney Wolf.
While that might seem somewhat unsettling (wait, I have to be the one to make the move?!), having control of the conversation (and potential relationship) actually works in a single mom’s favor, says certified dating coach Melissa M. Snow.
“I find that many of my clients who are women, especially successful, emotionally intelligent, mature women, like Bumble better than the other dating apps,” Snow explains. “It was created with the intention of leveling the playing field and empowering women.”
Bumble claims that there are 94,000 new users added daily (including 23 million new matches).
As Snow adds, dating is a highly personal venture—and one that requires a bit of trial and error. “I always recommend my clients try several different apps when they're first getting started,” she says. “The vibe on each one is a little different and the app your friend loves might not be the one you love.”
Is Bumble the right dating app for you? Here’s what you need to know:
- Is Bumble legit?
- How does Bumble work?
- How much does Bumble cost?
- Is Bumble worth getting?
- Bumble reviews
Is Bumble legit?
Just like any app or website you give your personal information and photos to, it’s important to determine the credibility of the company first before signing up. But, rest assured, your information is safe with Bumble: It’s a publicly traded company that was founded in 2014 in Austin, Texas by Whitney Wolfe, Tinder founder, who at the time was 26 years old. Bumble is backed by entrepreneur Andrey Andreev, and Bumble is today valued at $8 billion.
How does Bumble work?
Bumble can be found in either the Apple Store or on Google Play. Once you download the app, you’ll sync your profile to one of three things: your Facebook account, your phone number, or your Apple ID. (This verification helps to solidify that you are actually you––and that the people you swipe across are legit humans, too, instead of a bot.)
Here’s how the process for setting up a profile works:
- Provide your name and an initial photo. You can add up to five more photos to your profile, but Bumble allows you to complete this step later if you prefer.
- Add your birthday. It’s important to note that, if you didn’t sync your profile to your Facebook account, you can, theoretically, choose any age you prefer.
- Confirm your identity. Bumble prompts you to confirm if you’re a woman, a man, or are non-binary by checking a box.
- Pick matching preferences. Bumble allows you to choose from three options: Date, BFF, and Bizz. Naturally, if you’re looking to date, picking the first option is key, while you can find platonic friends with the BFF function, and professional contacts with Bizz. You’ll also be asked whether you prefer men, women, or everyone. (FYI: If you select same-gender preferences, there’s no restriction on who can message who first.)
- Email address for account recovery.
At this point in the setup process, Bumble informs you that, when you match with someone, the onus is on you, the woman, to make the first move. You have 24 hours to connect with a match or the match will expire entirely.
Once you’re in the app, matches appear immediately. You can filter matches, but only two at a time in the free version:
- Astrology sign
You can also limit your matches to “verified” profiles only. This means, according to the app, that someone who works at Bumble has verified that the person is who they say they are via a photo taken in real time. You can do this, too.
The last step before you start swiping? Setting up your profile. Bumble allows users to add up to six photos of themselves (with the option of verifying their profile via a photo) as well as a section or a short bio, interests, work and education, and various convo-starting prompts (i.e. what a perfect first date might look like, or what one might do in a zombie apocalypse.
You can also specify your COVID preferences (either you want to meet in real life or for a virtual date) and connect your Spotify and Instagram if you want to give potential matches some insight into your personal music preferences and general lifestyle.
How much does Bumble cost?
Although Bumble is free to download and use, you can add two additional filters to your match search (besides distance and age) before you have to pay extra for a premium membership.
If you opt for a premium membership), you are granted access to unlimited filters. These include the extent to how much a person exercises, their preferred alcoholic drink (or none), whether they smoke cigarettes or use cannabis, if they want children, their religion, their political preferences, and, ultimately, what they want from their Bumble date (i.e. a one-night stand, long-term relationship, or friends-with-benefits). Premium membership costs:
- $17.99 for one week
- $32.99 for one month
- $66.99 for three months
- $199.99 for a lifetime
How many free swipes do you get on Bumble?
Although Bumble doesn’t publicly say how many free swipes you get, on my profile, I moved through 105 swipes before the app informed me that I needed to upgrade to a premium membership before I could acquire more.
Is the Bumble dating app any good?
Despite having a trove of users, Bumble has amassed only 220 complaints on the Better Business Bureau’s website, with the vast majority of grievances related to billing issues. The BBB gives Bumble a D-:
TrustPilot, on the other hand, has less-than-favorable reviews of Bumble, with a 1.7 rating out of 5 stars, with complaints about being over-charged, as well as a sense that profiles are fake.
That said, those low ratings should deter you from trying out the app, says Eric Resnick, an online dating coach with ProfileHelper, which assists daters in creating great online profiles. You just need to be strategic. “Don't feed into the forced sense of urgency,” he explains. “Bumble is designed more like a video game than traditional dating sites. When you get a notification of a match, your brain has the same type of dopamine release that you get when you win on a slot machine or a scratch-off ticket. This can cause people to subconsciously overuse the app in the service of chasing the good feelings that come from getting matches.”
Resnick recommends setting a time limit (no more than five to 10 minutes per day) for swiping so you don’t burn yourself out too quickly. “There's nothing that you are going to miss out on by waiting to come back until the next day.”
What age group is Bumble for?
Although women of any age can use Bumble, Snow believes that the app is positioned perfectly for women who are looking for something serious. “If you match with someone and reach out to them, they have 24 hours to respond or the match expires,” she explains. “I love this feature because it weeds out the guys who only check their dating apps on Friday nights when they want to hook up.”
Is Bumble full of fake profiles?
As noted earlier, although the option exists to verify your profile, you don’t technically have to provide your true identity while using the app (when I created a fake profile for this article to better understand the swiping process, I was able to build a profile without my real photo or age).
However, Wilson notes there’s another feature (besides verification) that can help you weed out catfishes: “I love that Bumble has a feature that allows you to video chat in the app,” she says. “This lets you confirm the other person's identity without giving out your personal information, too.”
Should I use my real name on Bumble?
If you want to foster legitimate connections, both the experts we interviewed say that using your real first name (minus your last name, of course) is key.
Is Bumble worth getting?
Should you download Bumble? Here’s a rundown of some of the major pros and cons associated with the app, including experts we interviewed:
Pros of Bumble
- For heterosexual matches, the control is in a woman’s hand, eliminating an inundation of (potentially) unwanted messages.
- You have the option of matching with only verified profiles (and verifying your own profile), leading to more authentic matches.
- You can customize your profile with fun, unique prompts and sync your Spotify and/or Instagram for a more personal touch (and potentially stronger matches).
Cons of Bumble
- You don’t technically have to verify your profile, opening up your swiping journey to potentially fake matches.
- Although this can be framed as a positive, the onus is on women to make the first move on the app, which can feel overwhelming or one-sided if you’re not prepared to put in the work. “The biggest con with Bumble is that many men who understand how Bumble works just swipe right on every woman and don't bother reading their profiles until you send them a message,” says Resnick. “As a result, there's no dating app with a higher rejection rate for women daters than Bumble.”
- Matches expire within 24 hours if you don’t message the person.
- Rachel Gabrielle, a licensed therapist in Seattle, notes that there are some cons to Bumble.
Sometimes the best way to determine if a particular dating app is suited to your needs is to comb through Redittors’ takes. Here are some top reviews:
Bumble reviews on Reddit
- “I realize there are a lot of women who are assertive romantically, but the reality is that most want the man to initiate the process, even if it's simply him saying that he likes something about her profile or photos. At least, that's been my experience with online dating. I've had somewhere between 3 and 4 dozen “matches” on Bumble and only 1 conversation, which lasted less than 2 days.” – u/DocHolliday780
- … and from a guy’s perspective: “If you're a guy on Bumble, [it’s] better in the sense that the girl has to message you first. Tinder is more of a casual app. I’ve rarely met girls who wanna date, and if you do start talking, they usually stop. Bumble is more stable in the sense that if you find someone, it’s more likely to last longer and actually have a decent conversation and maybe go further.” – u/OsirisxThird
“The real value of Bumble, far as I can tell, is that it skews slightly more professional vs. Tinder, and slightly more toward dates vs hookups. Though of course mileage may vary.” – u/heartsmasher
Should I get Tinder or Bumble?
“Dating these days takes a lot of luck and perseverance, and even though Bumble mitigates some issues for women, there’s still the slog of wading through lots of people who won’t be right for you,” she explains. “With Bumble, you also bear the burden of needing to start the conversation and that can be anxiety provoking for some people.”
To mitigate that anxiety, Gabrielle recommends having a handful of opening lines ready to use for your matches––that go beyond the simple “hey” or “how are you.” “Try asking them a question about something in their bio or photo,” she notes.
“I always recommend that, when you reach out, you reference something on his profile and ask an open-ended question,” Snow adds. Is there a particular style of movie he loves (that you do too), or do you both have teenage daughters? Bring it up, says Snow. “This shows you're serious enough that you actually read his profile and it gets the ball rolling for your conversation.”
Ultimately, your best bet in finding the perfect dating app is to try each and see how you like them.
If you're looking for a serious relationship, check out our No. 1 recommendation, which has found to have the highest marriage rates and lowest divorce rates, with the eharmony review.