Ultimate Guide

WhatsApp Business API Pricing: The Ultimate Guide [March 2023]

Román Filgueira García
Content Writer, Respond.io
September 22, 2022

How much does WhatsApp Business cost? When it comes to WhatsApp API pricing, this can be difficult to calculate. To avoid running into unnecessary expenses, businesses should be familiar with this topic. In this blog post, we will explain the current WhatsApp Business API pricing model, the additional costs you will face, as well as the cheapest WhatsApp API partner for your business.

WhatsApp API Pricing: Is WhatsApp Business API Free?

The WhatsApp Business App pricing model is simple - it’s free! But this is not the case for WhatsApp API. To really understand the cost of WhatsApp API for messaging, you must first be familiar with the other associated costs of using the API.

WhatsApp Business Pricing: What Costs To Expect

WhatsApp offers two different products for businesses to message at scale: WhatsApp Cloud API and WhatsApp Business API. The former is hosted on Meta’s cloud servers whereas the latter is hosted on a WhatsApp Partner’s server or a business’s server.

We have a blog post dedicated to WhatsApp Cloud API, where you’ll find everything you need to know about it. What you’ll find next is detailed information regarding the expected costs of using WhatsApp Business API.

This image shows a comparison chart between WhatsApp Business Pricing with WhatsApp Cloud API vs WhatsApp Business API
WhatsApp Cloud API vs WhatsApp Business API: A comparison

For a start, WhatsApp won’t give you direct access to WhatsApp Business API. Instead, you need to go through an intermediary called WhatsApp Partner or Business Solution Provider (BSP) to get a WhatsApp API account.

WhatsApp charges BSPs for hosting WhatsApp API in their on-premise servers. Then, BSPs will pass that cost on to end-users while also adding their own fees. For example, certain partners charge a set-up fee or a markup per message.

This image shows what is the cost of WhatsApp Business. The WhatsApp business costo includes WhatsApp API fees, partner API pricing and messaging inbox cost
How much is WhatsApp Business API? The total WhatsApp business price depends on the items above

Once you have a WhatsApp API account, connect the WhatsApp API endpoint to a messaging inbox like respond.io to start messaging. In short, using on-premise WhatsApp API involves fees from WhatsApp, your BSP of choice and a Messaging Inbox.

If it’s still confusing, don’t fret. In the next section, we’ll explain how the current WhatsApp pricing model works.

WhatsApp Business API Pricing: WhatsApp Conversation Rates Explained

Compared to sending messages or traditionally opening and closing tickets, conversations enable relationship-building with customers. To give customers a fast and conversational experience, WhatsApp API rates are based on 24-hour conversation sessions.

Conversation prices vary depending on the user’s country code. But, what does a WhatsApp user mean in this context? It’s the person or entity that messages a business. The current WhatsApp Business pricing divides conversations into two categories:

  • User-initiated conversations: The user sends the first message. This type of conversation is initiated when a business responds to a user within the 24h session.
  • Business-initiated conversations: The business sends the first message or continues a conversation outside the 24h session. This type of conversation can only be started with pre-approved message templates.

Conversation rates are different for user-and business-initiated conversations. You can check out the costs here.

This image shows WhatsApp API pricing conversation based system. The WhatsApp for business pricing model features two types of conversation as shown in the image
The two conversation types under the current WhatsApp Business pricing model

Each WhatsApp Business Account (WABA) will receive 1000 Free Tier conversations every month, which can be user-or business-initiated. If you have more than one number linked to your WABA account, the 1000 free conversations are shared between all your numbers.

Businesses will not be charged for conversations initiated by users via click to WhatsApp ads or Facebook Page call-to-action buttons. As of March 1, 2023, the 24-hour messaging window will be extended to 72 hours when customers message you through these two entry points.

During this messaging window, all messages sent are free, including WhatsApp Template Messages. Keep in mind that a conversation initiated from a WhatsApp ad is free, but not the ad itself.

WhatsApp Business Pricing by Partner

In the previous section, we broke down how WhatsApp charges per conversation. Now it’s time to talk about pricing from the BSPs’ end. What type of WhatsApp business account charges can we expect from WhatsApp Partners?

On top of charging you the WhatsApp fees, these are the pricing models used by the main BSPs that work with respond.io.

  • Per-message
  • Message bundle
  • Per-monthly active users
This image shows the different WhatsApp Business Pricing models. On top of the WhatsApp business account price, BSPs charge their own whats app business api fees.
WhatsApp API cost: Some common BSPs pricing practices

Despite WhatsApp API pricing changes in February 2022, some BSPs decided to stick to their original WhatsApp API price. Let’s introduce these partners and explain how their pricing model works together with the current WhatsApp Business pricing.

MessageBird WhatsApp API Pricing

MessageBird offers businesses four different Solution Plans based on monthly active contacts. They add their own message fees on top of the WhatsApp conversation pricing.

This image shows the MessageBird WhatsApp Pricing. The Messagebird WhatsApp Business costo involves markups per message.
MessageBird WhatsApp pricing in a nutshell

While WhatsApp conversation fees vary by country, MessageBird adds a $0.005 markup per session message sent by the business. There is a $0.005 markup per template message too, on top of the WhatsApp fees.

Twilio WhatsApp API Pricing

Twilio kept the per-message pricing model after the WhatsApp Business pricing changes. In their own words, “Pay-as-you-go pricing makes sure you only pay for what you use”.

Is Twilio WhatsApp free? This image shows WhatsApp Twilio Pricing, which involves markups per message
Twilio WhatsApp Business API Pricing in a nutshell

On top of WhatsApp conversation fees, Twilio charges a $0.005 flat fee per message sent and also per message received. This markup applies to both WhatsApp Template Message pricing and Session Message pricing.

The Cheapest WhatsApp API Pricing: 360dialog

Looking for a cheap WhatsApp API? Respond.io users can now get 360dialog WhatsApp API for an exclusive price of $5/month plus WhatsApp Conversation fees. For everybody else, 360dialog offers three different monthly plans.

360dialog doesn’t add any markup fee on messages sent or received. This is our recommended choice for businesses looking for a BSP with affordable WhatsApp Business pricing.

This image shows the 360dialog WhatsApp Pricing. 360 dialog offers one of the best WhatsApp Business pricing UK.
Decrease your WhatsApp business account charges with the best WhatsApp business API provider

We've covered the current WhatsApp Business API pricing model and BSP pricing practices. Next, we’ll deal with the most common business use cases and how they are affected by the current WhatsApp Business pricing model.

WhatsApp Business API Pricing by Use Case

Companies often have different teams messaging customers via WhatsApp API. And these teams have different messaging habits.

This image shows the different WhatsApp API use cases: Sales, support, marketing, and engineering
The final WhatsApp API cost depends on the use case

Next, we’ll tell you what costs to expect when using WhatsApp API for sales, support, marketing and engineering. For every use case, we’ll provide a recommendation on what type of WhatsApp Partner you should choose to get the best bang for your buck.

Conversation-based Pricing for Sales Teams

Salespeople need to follow up with their clients. This means they often start the conversation once they get a lead. These conversations are usually business-initiated, which are more expensive than user-initiated ones.

This image shows the best WhatsApp Business Pricing for Sales. Salespeople should go for a MAC plan or a monthly plan to reduce charges for Whatsapp business account
Points to keep in mind to get the best WhatsApp API price for sales

With 1,000 free monthly conversations, the current WhatsApp API pricing model benefits businesses with low sales volume but high-profit margin per sale, as these businesses only have conversations with a few clients per month.

We recommend MAC plans for sales teams working for low volume, high margin businesses. Conversely, a monthly plan is a better choice for high volume, low margin businesses with many conversations per month.

Conversation-based Pricing for Support Teams

Support teams are responsible for responding to inquiries quickly. Since they mostly reply to inbound conversations, they will benefit from the current WhatsApp API Pricing based on 24h messaging sessions.

Because businesses are only charged for one user-initiated message within 24 hours when they reply, support teams should use this window to solve customer inquiries without worrying about the number of messages sent and received.

In scenarios where resolutions go beyond the 24h session, companies will be charged for additional user or business-initiated conversations.

The image shows WhatsApp Business Pricing for Support. Support teams should go for a monthly plan to get the cheapest WhatsApp API India.
Points to keep in mind to get the best WhatsApp API price for support

For this reason, it’s important for support agents to avoid replying to inbound conversations they consider irrelevant to avoid incurring unnecessary WhatsApp charges.

They should also be careful with automated greeting messages and away messages. If a business message is sent after the first customer message, it will result in a user-initiated conversation, with costs involved.

A monthly plan is the best choice for most support teams. For a fixed price, support agents can send as many messages as they need within the 24h session without facing markup fees per message.

Conversation-based Pricing for Marketing Teams

Marketing Teams use WhatsApp to broadcast promotional messages to their audiences. They are not concerned with replying to contacts.

Each message sent by a marketing team counts as a business-initiated conversation. For this reason, sending messages en masse can become quite pricey with the current WhatsApp Business pricing model.

Marketing teams should be aware of this: While there is no additional cost to send subsequent messages after the first business-initiated message, WhatsApp Business Policy is strict about businesses using the platform for spam.

This image shows the ideal WhatsApp for Marketing
Points to keep in mind to reduce WhatsApp API cost for marketing

Since business-initiated conversations can be expensive, marketing teams should try to save on costs by choosing a partner that doesn’t charge a markup fee per message sent. For low volumes of business-initiated conversations, paying for message bundles works.

However, companies that need to send large volumes of business-initiated conversations will benefit from a monthly plan with unlimited messages and no markup fees.

Conversation-based Pricing for Operational Technical Implementors

Operational technical implementors are engineers that monitor and process operational data. They use WhatsApp to send transactional notifications to confirm a payment, reset a password, etc.

In general, these transactional notifications are business-initiated conversations, as they are not sent in response to a customer message. Business-initiated conversations are more expensive, so BSPs with additional message costs should be avoided.

WhatsApp for Engineers
Points to keep in mind to reduce WhatsApp API cost for engineering

Unlike marketing teams, operational technical implementors can’t really estimate how many business-initiated conversations they'll have.

Paying for a monthly plan with unlimited messages and no markup fees ensures that operational technical implementors can start business-initiated conversations when necessary, without worrying about racking up the bill.

WhatsApp API Pricing: What’s Next

Most likely, you are using the WhatsApp channel for Sales, Support, Marketing, and Notifications. So here's the best overall Partner we recommend. Unlike many other Partners, 360dialog doesn't add a markup per message. Simply put, you'll be paying a flat monthly rate plus WhatsApp conversation prices.

Hence, 360dialog is the cheapest WhatsApp API. To get started, sign up for a respond.io account and apply for 360dialog WhatsApp API through us.

Further Reading

That’s all you need to know about the WhatsApp API cost for businesses. If found this reading interesting, check out the following articles:

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