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WhatsApp API Pricing: The Ultimate Guide to WhatsApp Business API Pricing (Mar 2021)

By November 30, 2019March 22nd, 2021No Comments
WhatsApp API Pricing: The Ultimate Guide to WhatsApp Business API Pricing (Mar 2021)

Struggling to understand WhatsApp API Pricing? We’re here to help. In this blog post, we’ll explain what WhatsApp Partners are and why you need them. We’ll also walk you through the pricing practices and functionality restrictions of WhatsApp Partners. Plus, you’ll learn about WhatsApp Business API charges & pricing models, as well as how to choose the best WhatsApp API Provider with the cheapest WhatsApp Business API Pricing for Sales, Support & Notifications.

Ready to use WhatsApp API for your business? We’re offering the cheapest WhatsApp Business API account on the market together with a WhatsApp Partner. This WhatsApp API works perfectly with respond.io, so sign up for a free account & start messaging!

How To Choose A WhatsApp API Partner

WhatsApp for Business Pricing: Prologue

WhatsApp Business API Pricing by Partners

Choosing the Partner with the Best WhatsApp Business API Pricing

360dialog Has The Cheapest WhatsApp Business API Pricing for Sales, Support & Notifications

WhatsApp Business Pricing: Prologue

To understand WhatsApp Business Pricing, let’s review the basics of WhatsApp Business first. WhatsApp has two business-focused products – WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business API.

WhatsApp Business App is free to use. It's great for small businesses where the owner talks directly to customers. However, WhatsApp Business App only works on one device with one user. It's not possible to have it on two phones at one time.

This is an image about WhatsApp Business API accounts. WhatsApp has 2 types of business accounts - WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp Business API.
WhatsApp Business App Vs WhatsApp Business API

If you have a team of users, you'll need a WhatsApp Business API account to use WhatsApp Business with multiple users.

Is WhatsApp Business API free? No. WhatsApp has chosen WhatsApp API accounts as the way they will generate revenue. WhatsApp API accounts are made available through Partners only. So what exactly is WhatsApp Partner?

What is a WhatsApp Partner & Why You Need One

You would think creating a WhatsApp Business API Account for your company would be as easy as creating a Facebook page, but that is not the case. You can only sign up for a WhatsApp API account through WhatsApp Partners.

So why doesn't WhatsApp offer its API directly to most companies? When creating WhatsApp Business, WhatsApp had 3 priorities:

  1. To make money. WhatsApp has become free after it was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion. Having pledged to never have ads on WhatsApp, Facebook needed a new business model to monetize the purchase. The answer? WhatsApp Business API.
  2. To keep WhatsApp's headcounts low. The company was famously acquired for a very high price with only 100 or so headcounts, and Facebook intends to keep it that way.
  3. To keep spamming low. The most valuable thing that WhatsApp has is the massive number of users – WhatsApp hit 2 billion users in early 2020. If there's one thing we learned from email & SMS, it's that companies will want to use it to spam their customers. Spamming will affect user experience and drive its users away. WhatsApp is well aware of the importance of protecting its platform from spamming. So it wants to be able to control the companies that have API access to its platform.

To achieve all these goals, WhatsApp decided to offer WhatsApp Business API accounts through WhatsApp Partners only. WhatsApp Partners or WhatsApp Business Solution Providers are services that help you connect to WhatsApp API.

Outsourcing the process to Partners is less resource-intensive and cost-effective because it eliminates the need to hire additional employees.

Plus, Partners have the resources to help WhatsApp vet companies allowed on the platform. Many Partners are SMS Providers with access to high-volume clients. This means they have the manpower to ensure only the best brands get on WhatsApp.

This is a picture that shows WhatsApp API access is indirect. If you want to connect to WhatsApp API, we recommend using WhatsApp Partners. WhatsApp Partners (or WhatsApp Business Solution Providers) are services that help you connect to WhatsApp API. You’re more likely to get approved for a WhatsApp API account by applying through Partners.
WhatsApp API Access is Indirect

Signing up for a WhatsApp Business API Account through a Partner means the access is to the Partner's API, not directly to WhatsApp API. For instance, you will be connecting to Twilio API and Vonage API.

Remember, not all WhatsApp Partners are created equal. Your experience with WhatsApp Business API can vary depending on which Partner you choose. Below, we’ll help you wade through the good, the bad and the ugly to find the Partner that meets your needs.

WhatsApp Partners: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

While WhatsApp Partners have made WhatsApp API accessible to businesses, some of their pricing practices and functionality restrictions are less than ideal. In this section, we'll explore the good, the bad & the ugly of WhatsApp Partners.

WhatsApp Partners: The Good

If you are new to WhatsApp Business API, WhatsApp Partner is your friend. WhatsApp Partners are ready to provide guidance with every step of the way – from figuring out messaging rules to porting numbers to verifying your WhatsApp Business API account.

Let's face it, WhatsApp Business API is hard to understand. WhatsApp has complex, at times confusing rules when it comes to messaging. For instance, WhatsApp Business API doesn’t allow you to send a message anytime or in any format you want.

WhatsApp is still tweaking the rules and it can be difficult to keep up with them. WhatsApp Partners are well equipped to help you understand the rules and keep you updated on any rule changes.

This is a picture that shows the things WhatsApp Partners can help you with. If you are new to WhatsApp Business API, WhatsApp Partner is your friend. WhatsApp Partners are ready to provide guidance with every step of the way - from figuring out messaging rules to porting numbers to verifying your WhatsApp Business API account.
What Partners Can Help You With

Furthermore, some Partners will help you by giving you a phone number or porting a number you already have. Depending on the chosen Partner, you can port a mobile number, a landline or even a 1-800 number.

WhatsApp Partners can even help get you the green checkmark for your WhatsApp Business Account. It's not possible for businesses to get verified on their own, but WhatsApp Partners can request verification on your behalf.

While many WhatsApp Partners are here to provide good service and help your company become successful, some Partners have less-than-ideal pricing practices.

WhatsApp Partners: The Bad

Some pricing practices of WhatsApp Partners are not ideal for businesses. For instance, some Partners require businesses to pay a markup while others keep their pricing details private.

As WhatsApp Partners are free to set up their own pricing, many Partners charge businesses a price different from what they actually pay WhatsApp to make a profit. The markup varies from one Partner to another, so you should find out if you’re overpaying.

However, comparing WhatsApp Business pricing is difficult because many WhatsApp Partners don’t put their pricing information publicly on the website. Hidden behind a layer of Contact Us, you need to call or email them to learn about their prices.

This is an image about WhatsApp Business Pricing practices of WhatsApp Partners. Some WhatsApp Partners have practices that are not ideal for businesses. For instance, some Partners require businesses to pay a markup while others keep their pricing details private.
Pricing Practices of WhatsApp Partners

Contacting Partners can be a stressful experience. When you contact Partners, you may go through aggressive questioning about your use case. Everything you say can be misinterpreted as spamming, which is prohibited by WhatsApp.

It’s not just Partners that are responsible for the complex WhatsApp Business API Pricing – WhatsApp changes the price at its discretion. For instance, WhatsApp has been testing a new conversation-based pricing model in Mexico.

While markups and non-transparent WhatsApp API pricing can be a real headache, you can work around these pricing issues with proper research. Plus, we’ll help you choose the cheapest WhatsApp API Partner based on your use case in this article.

What you should worry about are Partners’ restrictions on WhatsApp API functionality. Below, we’ll discuss the functionality restrictions that can affect your experience with WhatsApp Business API.

WhatsApp Partners: The Ugly

Some Partners have restrictions that can affect WhatsApp API functionality, and these restrictions are hard to circumvent. This includes limited support for WhatsApp API features and third-party software.

Not all WhatsApp Partners will support features available on WhatsApp API. Some WhatsApp Partners are integrating WhatsApp API with their proprietary API, so it’s technologically challenging to include any new features from WhatsApp.

Furthermore, some Partners don’t allow you to use third-party CRM software. Accengage, Conversocial, Facelift, Genesys & Falcon.io sell WhatsApp API account along with their in-house CRM software. They don’t offer the WhatsApp API account alone.

This is a picture about WhatsApp Partners’ restrictions on WhatsApp API functionality. Some Partners have restrictions that can affect WhatsApp API functionality, and these restrictions are hard to circumvent. This includes limited support for WhatsApp API features and third-party software.
Functionality Restrictions By WhatsApp Partners

In some cases, businesses are not aware of these restrictions until they have signed up. So, choose your WhatsApp Partner carefully because it will be hard to switch.

You’ll lose your existing number if you switch to a new Partner. At this time, you can’t migrate your phone number to a new WhatsApp API account with another Partner. However, WhatsApp will likely enable phone number migration in 2021.

Apart from feature support and the ability to integrate with a third-party CRM, WhatsApp Business API pricing is an important factor when choosing a Partner. Read on to learn more about WhatsApp API Pricing.

WhatsApp API Pricing by Partners

WhatsApp Business API prices vary across WhatsApp Partners, therefore it’s important to compare the prices. We'll cover three things here- how WhatsApp charges Partners, how much Partners charge businesses and Partners' WhatsApp API pricing models.

How WhatsApp Charges Partners

Before we dive into the details of WhatsApp API pricing, it's important that you understand the concept of WhatsApp API messaging. There are 2 types of WhatsApp API Messages – Session Messaging and Template Messaging.

Session Messaging allows you to reply to contacts’ messages within a 24-hour window, whereas Template Messaging allows businesses to start a new conversation with contacts who have opted-in on or off WhatsApp.

This is a picture about types of WhatsApp API messages. There are 2 types of WhatsApp API Messages - Session Messaging and Template Messaging.Session Messaging allows you to reply to contacts’ messages within a 24-hour window, whereas Template Messaging allows businesses to start a new conversation with contacts who have opted-in on or off WhatsApp.
WhatsApp API Message Types

WhatsApp charges Partners on a per-message basis. Session Messaging is free to Partners. The only fee Partners need to pay WhatsApp is WhatsApp Destination Charges – the official Template Message prices determined by WhatsApp based upon destination.

This is a picture that shows what Parners pay WhatsApp. WhatsApp charges Partners on a per-message basis. Session Messaging is free to Partners. The only fee Partners need to pay WhatsApp is WhatsApp Destination Charges - the official Template Message prices determined by WhatsApp based upon destination.
WhatsApp Destination Charges is the Only Fee that WhatsApp Partners Pay WhatsApp

You can see the complete WhatsApp Destination Charges in the Template Message Rate Card. WhatsApp Destination Charges range between $0.0033 and $0.1221, depending on the destination and the volume of messages sent.

Does this mean you can send Session Messages free-of-charge and pay the Template Messages prices listed in the Template Message Rate Card? In most cases, no.

Although WhatsApp charges Partners a transparent price, many Partners are charging companies more than what they pay WhatsApp. So how much exactly are WhatsApp Partners charging businesses?

How Much WhatsApp Partners Charge Businesses

Many Partners charge companies a per-message fee for Session Messaging and Template Messaging. We’ll discuss how much businesses are required to pay for sending a Session or Template Message.

So, how much is WhatsApp API Session Messaging? Depending on the Partner you chose, the prices for Session Messaging can range from $0.001 to $0.073. Comparing WhatsApp Session Messaging pricing is important if you plan to use WhatsApp for Support.

Curious to know Twilio WhatsApp API pricing? Twilio charges a fixed fee of $0.005 per Session Message. What about Messagebird WhatsApp API pricing? MessageBird offers the same Session Message Rate as Twilio at $0.005 per Session Message.

This is a picture that shows WhatsApp API Pricing. So, how much is WhatsApp API Session Messaging? Depending on the Partner you chose, the prices for Session Messaging can range from $0.001 to $0.073. Comparing WhatsApp Session Messaging pricing is important if you plan to use WhatsApp for Support. And how much does WhatsApp API Template Messaging cost?  Template Messaging can cost anything between $0.0073 and $0.1471, depending on the Partner.
How Much WhatsApp Partners Charge Businesses

And how much does WhatsApp API Template Messaging cost? Template Messaging can cost anything between $0.0073 and $0.1471, depending on the Partner.

WhatsApp Template Message pricing is generally higher than Session Message. That said, businesses typically send fewer Template Messages to a given user per month than they do Session Messages because Template Messages are often used for Notifications.

Is that everything you need to know about WhatsApp API Pricing? Sadly no. WhatsApp API pricing is complex. Apart from the per-message fees discussed above, some WhatsApp Partners use different pricing models.

Partners' WhatsApp API Pricing Models

The final price you pay will depend heavily on the pricing model implemented by the WhatsApp Partners. We've seen WhatsApp Partners with 3 pricing models:

  • Per-message
  • Message bundles
  • Per-monthly active user (MAU)

We've discussed the per-message pricing for Session Messaging and Template Messaging in the previous section. Now it’s time to learn about the other 2 WhatsApp API pricing models – message bundles and per-MAU.

This is an image about WhatsApp API Pricing models. The final price you pay will depend heavily on the pricing model implemented by the WhatsApp Partners. We've seen WhatsApp Partners with 3 pricing models - Per-message, Message bundles and Per-monthly active user (MAU).
WhatsApp Business API Pricing Models

Message bundles come with a certain amount of free Session Messages. If you exceed the limit, you'll have the option to send out-of-bundle Session Messages for a fee. Bundles don’t usually include Template Messages.

For instance, Clickatell's $125 bundle covers up to 10,000 Session Messages, whereas its $995 bundle offers up to 125,000 Session Messages. Out-of-bundle messages are charged at $0.025 per message.

Under the per MAU pricing model, Partners will charge for the amount of WhatsApp users you have conversations with in any given month. For instance, Botmaker charges $149 for up to 3,000 MAUs, and $0.05 for each additional user.

In addition to the 3 pricing models, some Partners may charge a one-off setup fee ranging between $149 and $2,000. From what we've found, only a handful of Partners charge set-up fees. This includes Botmaker, CM, Infobip & MacroKiosk.

Ultimately, there's no one-size-fits-all pricing model that works for everyone. It depends on your use case. In the next section, you’ll find out which Partners have the cheapest WhatsApp Business API prices for Sales, Support and Notifications.

Choosing the Partner with the Cheapest WhatsApp Business API Pricing

WhatsApp Business API pricing models vary from one Partner to another. To choose the Partner that works best for your company, consider the following 3 questions:

  • What is your use case?
  • What type of WhatsApp API Messages will you be sending?
  • Which Partner has the lowest price for the particular type of WhatsApp API Messages?

Regardless of your use case, choosing the right WhatsApp Partner with transparent, honest pricing is crucial for success. We have investigated the WhatsApp API pricing of over 60 WhatsApp Partners to look for the best ones for Sales, Support and Notifications.

Choosing the Partner with the Best WhatsApp API Pricing for Sales

Using WhatsApp for Sales has many benefits. For starters, it helps salespeople build rapport with prospects because WhatsApp conversations are simply more intimate. WhatsApp also allows salespeople to handle multiple more prospects at one time.

This is a picture that shows the things to look for when choosing a WhatsApp Partner for WhatsApp Sales. First, you should choose a WhatsApp Partner that allows you to apply for Template Messaging through its console. You should also go for a WhatsApp Partner that offers per-message WhatsApp Business API pricing. Lastly, you should avoid a WhatsApp Partner that impose a markup on Template Message fees.
Choosing WhatsApp Partner with the Best WhatsApp API Pricing for Sales

Let's run through a car sales example so you can visualize what kind of messages a salesperson would use. First, a customer drops his number in an online contact form. Then, a salesperson starts a WhatsApp chat with the customer via Template Messaging.

Next, the salesperson will help the customer choose the car model & set up financing over WhatsApp. While most conversations are done through Session Messaging, Template Messaging will come in handy if salespeople want to follow up with a customer who doesn't respond within a day.

Template Messaging is also useful to send periodic updates about car loan application status, or when the car is ready for pick up. The most useful type of WhatsApp API Message for Sales is Template Message. Salespeople often need to reach out to new prospects, and Template Messaging allows them to start a conversation.

Considering how important Template Messaging is for sales, you need to think about three things when choosing a WhatsApp Partner – can you submit Template Message applications on Partner’s console, what’s the best pricing model for sending Sales-type Template Messages, and is there any markup on WhatsApp Template Message pricing.

1. Can you submit Template Message applications on Partner’s console?

Salespeople will want to be able to send their own Template Messages for approval. For a more efficient sales workflow, go for a Partner that supports Template Message application on its console.

Remember, you'll need to submit Template Messages to your chosen Partner for approval before you can send them. Not all Partners let you submit a Template Message application directly through their console.

2. What is the best pricing model for sending Sales-type Template Messages?

Here are the best WhatsApp Business pricing models for Sales in order:

  • Per-message: If you have a high-volume, low-margin business like a car dealership, then the per-message pricing model is for you. It lets you pay only for the Template Messages you sent.
  • Per-MAU: The MAU model is good for low-volume, high-margin businesses such as YOOX, an online luxury fashion business. The company provides elite personal shopping services through WhatsApp for a small number of VIPs. As the personal shopper team only chats with a handful of customers per month, the per-MAU pricing model is the most cost-effective option.
  • Message bundle: This is not an option for WhatsApp Sales because Template Messaging is not usually included as part of the bundle.

3. Is there any markup on WhatsApp Template Message pricing?

Keep in mind, Template Message per-message fees differ significantly from one Partner to another. If you plan to use WhatsApp Business API for sales, avoid a partner that charges extra for Template Messaging.

As we know, many Partners add a hefty markup to WhatsApp Destination Charges. For example, MacroKiosk charges an additional $0.0041 on top of WhatsApp Destination Charges for every Template Message sent. Messagebird WhatsApp pricing & Twilio WhatsApp pricing includes an extra fee of $0.005 for Template Message.

Now that we’ve covered how to choose the cheapest WhatsApp API Provider for WhatsApp Sales, let’s discuss how to choose the best WhatsApp API Provider for Customer Support.

Choosing the Partner with the Best WhatsApp API Pricing for Support

More and more companies are using WhatsApp for Customer Support, and that's hardly surprising. Not only does WhatsApp makes customer service workflow more efficient, but it also allows agents to easily review the full history of customer interactions.

KLM, a Dutch airline company has been offering customer service via WhatsApp. Flyers can ask questions & request to change seats simply by chatting with a WhatsApp support agent.

Customer support agents will likely be using Session Messaging to answer customers’ enquiries, rather than using Template Messaging to start a chat. To recap, Session Messaging lets you reply to customer enquiries messages within 24 hours.

This is a picture that shows the things to look for when choosing a WhatsApp Partner for WhatsApp Customer Support. First, you should go for a WhatsApp Partner with bundle-type WhatsApp Business API pricing. Also, you look for a WhatsApp Partner that offers unlimited Session Messaging.
Choosing WhatsApp Partner with the Best WhatsApp API Pricing for Support

While Session Messages cannot be used to reply to Contacts outside the 24-hour window, but this wouldn't be an issue for WhatsApp Customer Support as most customer enquiries will be answered within a few hours.

Session Messages is important for WhatsApp Support. To use WhatsApp for Customer Support, you need to consider two questions – what’s the best pricing model for Session Messages, and does the WhatsApp Partner Offer Unlimited Session Messaging.

1. What is the best pricing model for Session Messages?

Here are the best WhatsApp API pricing models for Support in order:

  • Message Bundle: Message bundle is the go-to pricing model for Customer Support because you get to send a large number of Session Messages for a fixed monthly fee.
  • Per-message: Don’t use the per-message pricing model for WhatsApp Support. The Session Message per-message fees may seem insignificant at first glance, but support agents deal with a large amount of WhatsApp messages on a daily basis and the cost can add up.
  • Per-MAU: We don't recommend the per-MAU pricing model for WhatsApp Support because Support agents deal with new customers all the time. A pricing plan based on the user numbers would not be economical.

2. Does the WhatsApp Partner Offer Unlimited Session Messaging?

To make the most of your money, choose a WhatsApp Partners that offer unlimited Session Messaging with their bundles such as 360dialog or Ameyo.

And that’s everything you need to know about WhatsApp Business API Pricing for Support. In the following section, you'll learn about WhatsApp Business API Pricing for Notifications.

Choosing the Partner with the Best WhatsApp API Pricing for Notifications

Many companies are using WhatsApp Business API to send transactional notifications such as delivery and account updates. Unlike emails that often get buried in the inbox, WhatsApp push notifications are hard to ignore and more likely to be read.

OYO, an Indian hotel booking site has been sending booking confirmation to its customers through WhatsApp. Learn more about the story here.

Sending a WhatsApp notification is not as straightforward as you might think. In case you didn't know, WhatsApp has different rules which are designed to prevent spam. For instance, businesses can only send notifications with pre-approved Template Messages.

This is a picture that shows the things to look for when choosing a WhatsApp Partner for WhatsApp Notifications. First, you should go for a WhatsApp Partner that offers per-message WhatsApp Business API pricing. Also, you should avoid a WhatsApp Partner that impose a markup on Template Message fees.
Choosing WhatsApp Partner with the Best WhatsApp API Pricing for Notifications

Since Template Messaging is the only way to send WhatsApp Notifications, you should consider two things if you plan to use WhatsApp for sending Notifications – what’s the best pricing model for sending Notifications, and is there any markup on WhatsApp Template Message pricing?

1. What is the best pricing model for sending Notification-type Template Messages?

Here are the best WhatsApp Business pricing models for Notifications in order:

  • Per-message: We recommend the per-message pricing model for sending WhatsApp Notifications because companies typically send very few notifications per month. Under a per-message pricing plan, you will be charged based on the actual number of messages sent.
  • Per-MAU: Never use the per-MAU pricing model for Notifications. Most companies have many MAUs but only send one or two notifications a month, in which case the per-MAU pricing model doesn't make financial sense.
  • Message Bundle: The Message Bundle pricing model is not an option for WhatsApp Sales, as Template Messaging is not included as part of the bundle.

2. Is there any markup on WhatsApp Template Message pricing?

Remember, many Partners charge a premium price for Template Messaging. You should avoid Partners that impose an extra fee on Template Messaging. For instance, Qontak adds a 15% markup to every Template Message delivered.

Using WhatsApp for a combination of use cases? Read on to find out the best WhatsApp API Provider for Sales, Support and Notifications.

360dialog Has The Cheapest WhatsApp API Pricing for Sales, Support & Notifications

You will likely end up using the WhatsApp channel for all use cases anyways. So here's the best overall Partner we recommend – 360dialog. 360dialog is hands-down the best choice, whether you are using WhatsApp for Sales, Support, Notifications or all of them.

The ideal WhatsApp Partner for Sales, Support & Notifications should offer low prices for both Session and Template Messaging. Not only does 360dialog offers unlimited Session Messaging, but it also has the cheapest Template Messaging pricing in the market.

Unlike many other Partners, 360dialog doesn't add a markup to WhatsApp Destination Charges. Simply put, you'll be paying the prices listed in the Template Message Rate Card. To get started with 360dialog WhatsApp API, sign up for an account today.

Further Reading

You’ve made it to the end! That’s everything you need to know about WhatsApp API costs. If you enjoyed this article and you'd like to learn more about WhatsApp Business, check out our articles on:

WhatsApp API Pricing: The Ultimate Guide to WhatsApp Business API Pricing (Mar 2021)
Chris

Chris

Chris is a Content Writer at Respond.io. He formerly worked as a medical writer and content strategist. Chris holds a Pharmacy degree from Monash University.

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