Sex & Relationships

New dating app for over 50s launches in Australia

Forget Tinder and Bumble. There's now a special new app for Australian singles over 50. And it's awesome.
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Dating when you’re over 50 is already tricky, but dating online when you’re over 50 can be filled with pitfalls.

Thankfully, a brand new dating app designed especially for men and women aged 50 and over just launched in Australia.

It’s called Lumen and was designed by journalist, dating industry expert and The Guardian UK’s former Dating Editor Charly Lester, and former Bumble executive Antoine Argouges.

“My friends’ parents had gotten divorced and would ask me ‘Which app would you recommend?’ and I didn’t have an answer,” Charly told Now To Love.

“The most common thing people would say to me was ‘Someone needs to design an app for people over 50’, so we did,” she said.

Lumen is free – there is a premium version with more features for $13 – and has 300,000 members from all over the world, including the US, UK, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.

Following a soft-launch down under, there are now 20,000 Aussies over 50 using the app to find love.

So what makes this app so different? Now To Love sat down with Charly who explained exactly how Lumen has been designed with over-50s in mind.

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, both 51, met later in life following separate marriages and children. (Getty)

It’s only for people aged 50 and over

Apps like Tinder often exclude older people, because they’re designed with young people in mind.

“When Tinder first launched, you couldn’t sign up if you were over 50. Now, you can only search for people who are ’55 plus’. There are no specific ages, which just shows they’re not interested in that audience,” Charly said.

Lumen also ensures that everyone on the app is looking to date people within a similar age range.

“I’ve spoken to so many women in their 50s and 60s who feel so invisible and overlooked by men,” Charly said.

“As you get older, men more commonly date younger. So on apps like Tinder, even if you are on the app and you find people your age, quite often the men are trying to date 30-year-olds.

“But there are loads of men who want to date women the same age as them.”

Nicole and Keith are the perfect example of finding true love later in life. (Image: Getty)

You can’t lie about your age

Lying about your age is pretty common in online dating, but Lumen’s special technology forces people to be honest.

“When you sign up, the app asks you to take a selfie. You can’t get any further if you can’t take a selfie,” Charly said.

“Then that selfie is used behind the scenes to verify if you’re the person you say you are.

“We use AI [artificial intelligence] in the same way that machines in airports do.

“We cross reference 600 points on your face to check you’re the same person in the photo and it roughly guesses your age.

“It flags your photo with us if you look significantly younger. So you can’t get onto Lumen if you’re in your 20s.”

One of the reasons this technology exists is to prevent women who sign up to the app becoming “accidental cougars”, where where men in their 20s use photos of their Dads to go on dates with older women.

“A lot of women tell us ‘We’re glad you do the selfie’,” Charly said.

Zero-tolerance policy for scammers and catfishers

Online dating scams are a massive problem in Australia. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Australian lost $340 million to online scammers in 2017.

So far in 2019, Aussies have accidentally handed over almost $5 million to scammers, according to Swamwatch’s rolling statistics.

Lumen’s selfie technology provides a massive deterrent against scammers.

“No scammer is going to take a selfie,” Charly said.

Meaningful connections are prioritised

The first message, called an “icebreaker”, you send to anyone on Lumen must be 50 characters or more.

This prevents people from just writing “hi” or “hey” to potential partners.

“You have to craft an actual message,” Charly said.

Plus, members can only contact six new people a day, meaning they have to be careful about who they decide to message.

“You can reply to as many people as you like, but you can only make the move to six people a day. It’s to make sure people are taking a bit of time to look at people’s profiles and thinking about who they’re contacting,” she said.

“Because Lumen is free, one of the downfalls can be that people spam other people and cut and paste the same message to lots of women.

“You end up getting bombarded. We wanted to remove that negative experience.”

Also, to prevent women being harassed, members can only send further messages if they receive a reply.

“You have to wait for them to reply before you can chat and then the other person has 72 hours to reply,” Charly said.

“The conversation disappears after 72 hours and you can’t contact them again.”

Lumen is currently available to download on the App Store.

The basic version is free and the premium version is $13.

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