Is WhatsApp Business API Free? How WhatsApp Business API Pricing Works
The WhatsApp Business App pricing model is simple - it’s free! But this is not the case for WhatsApp Business 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.
Once you have a WhatsApp API account, connect the WhatsApp API endpoint to a messaging inbox like respond.io to start messaging. Respond.io offers three plans for different business needs, but you can start with a free trial. No credit card required!
WhatsApp Business charges BSPs for WhatsApp API. 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. Charging a markup per message is also a common practice among BSPs.
In short, using WhatsApp API involves fees from both WhatsApp and the BSP of choice. If it’s still confusing, don’t fret. In the following section, we’ll dive deeper into this topic.
Introduction to WhatsApp Business API Pricing
WhatsApp API pricing has changed over time. Up until January 2022, WhatsApp API fees were on a per-notification basis. The cost of Message Templates varied by region, while Session Messages were free.
But from February 1st, 2022 onwards, the WhatsApp Business API price is conversation-based. This means WhatsApp now charges per conversation rather than per notification. Now, let's have a detailed look at the pricing model and how to calculate charges.
WhatsApp Business API Pricing: How Conversation-based Pricing Works
Compared to sending messages or traditionally opening and closing tickets, conversations enable relationship building with customers. To give customers a fast and conversational experience, rates are now based on 24-hour conversation sessions.
Like notification-based pricing, conversation prices also vary depending on the user’s country code. But, what does a WhatsApp user mean in this context? It’s the person or entity who 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.
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.
Here’s another way to save costs with the current WhatsApp API pricing model: When a user messages a business via Ads that click to WhatsApp or Facebook Page CTA buttons, the first conversation from that entry point is free of charge.
WhatsApp Business API 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.
- Message bundle
- Per-monthly active users
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.
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”.
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 an affordable BSP.
We've covered the current WhatsApp 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.
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.
With 1,000 free monthly conversations, the current WhatsApp 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.
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.
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.
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 with 360dialog WhatsApp API, sign up for an account today.
That’s all you need to know about the WhatsApp API cost for businesses. If found this reading interesting, check out the following articles: