WhatsApp Business Pricing: What Costs You Can Expect

More than three million companies are already using WhatsApp Business in their customer communication. This success isn’t surprising– the most popular messaging app is an integral part of our everyday lives. But how much does WhatsApp Business cost and is it actually worth it?

For years the number of people using WhatsApp has been continually increasing. By the start of 2020, they hit the 2 billion-user-mark. People want to make it easy for themselves and they love to chat . Especially younger generations don’t enjoy talking on the phone. WhatsApp Business makes it possible for companies to respond to changing user behavior and talk to their customers on their favorite channel.

a bar graph showing the growing number of WhatsApp users from 2013 to 2020
Source: Statista

A spot in your customers’ contact list brings you closer to them, which improves your customer satisfaction in the long-term and offers an even more efficient customer service.

In this article, you’ll get a quick overview of your two options for WhatsApp Business– the WhatsApp Business App and API– and which costs you can expect.

1
The WhatsApp Business App

The WhatsApp Business App is a solution built for smaller businesses. It works similarly to the WhatsApp app that you already use to communicate with friends and family. The app enables you to create your own business profile and to add a catalogue to it with your products and services.

With additional features like automatic messages, quick replies and Broadcasts (similar to a newsletter), you can shape your customer communication to be even more efficient. Alikemom , a delivery service for homemade meals, has already started using the WhatsApp business app successfully to take orders, receive continuous customer feedback and add a more personal touch to conversations.

A drawback of the WhatsApp Business app is that it’s limited to just one employee account and therefore not suitable for service teams. Depending on the setup, it can also be problematic regarding data protection regulations .

WhatsApp Business App pricing

The WhatsApp Business App is available for free in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store . You can find our step-by-step directions for a quick start here .

Each WhatsApp account allows only one number. If you want to use your private number, your account will be converted into a business account so that you will no longer be able to use it for private uses. Consider that for customer communication via the WhatsApp Business App you’ll need a different SIM card as well as another cell phone or a dual SIM-capable phone.

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2
The WhatsApp Business API

The WhatsApp API is aligned for the needs of middle- and large-sized companies such as BMW or KLM . The API was created for larger service teams– it’s scalable and can be adjusted for different company processes. The existing API (an application programming interface ) enables you to connect to other customer communication softwares and offer omnichannel support all from one platform.

In contrast to the WhatsApp Business App, the API doesn't have a user interface and no broadcast function. However, it scores points with its greater flexibility, better data protection and advanced features like message templates or automation with chatbots .

For more information about the WhatsApp Business API, check out this post .

Message Templates

Message templates are one of the main features you get with the WhatsApp Business API. These are pre-written messages that businesses can use to send confirmations, delivery updates or appointment reminders.

a screenshot of a WhatsApp message template

You’ll need message templates for sending messages outside of the so-called “service window.” The service window is a 24-hour period defined by WhatsApp in which you can respond to your customers’ requests. After these 24 hours have run out, you’ll have to use a predetermined message template to ask your customers for permission to contact them again.

The service window also determines whether or not a message is free for your business or not. But more on that below.

WhatsApp Business API Pricing

In contrast to the WhatsApp Business App, the WhatsApp Business API is not free due to its functional capabilities and its focus on data security. Your costs are composed from various components: the monthly costs, the implementation costs and the fees per message.

Monthly fees

While you can simply download the app from the respective store and install it yourself, to access the WhatsApp API you’ll need a partner who will help you apply for it. You’ll have two options:

The first is to connect the endpoint of the WhatsApp API to a software provider like Userlike . That gives you the opportunity to receive and respond to messages from WhatsApp as well as other communication channels such as live chat and other messaging apps like Facebook and Telegram, all from one place. We offer this for an additional charge in the Business or Flex plan .

a screenshot of userlike's message center
Receive WhatsApp messages from your customers in Userlike’s Message Center.

Another option to gain access to the API is over a so-called Business Solution Provider (BSP). The various providers are listed in this partner directory from Facebook . The german digital agency 360Dialog , for example, charges monthly fees between €399-€1,000 depending on the range of functions. Keep in mind that many solution providers only enable access to the API, but, in contrast to Userlike, often do not deliver an interface where you can answer your inquiries.

Implementation costs

Connecting and maintaining the API is technically complex. That’s why many providers add an extra one-time implementation cost to the monthly fee. The service provider Vonage, for example, charges about €1,000 per number.

Fee per message

Messages that a customer sends you are always free. However, whether you can respond in WhatsApp Business for free or not depends on the 24-hour service window mentioned above.

  • Within the 24-hour service window. When a customer contacts you via WhatsApp, you have 24 hours to respond with either a custom message or with a message template. Both of these are free within this 24-hour window.
  • Outside the 24-hour service window. After the 24-hour window has run out, WhatsApp still allows you to contact customers, but only with a message template. This limitation is aimed at protecting users from getting messages from companies without their consent.

    All messages that you send outside of the 24-hour service window are subject to a fee . The fees vary depending on the country and the amount of sent messages. In the UK, for example, the fees run about 3 cents per message template. You can find a more precise price overview here .

Also note that some software providers may charge an extra fee for sending message templates. With Userlike, you won’t be charged any extra fees for this service.

3
Who can benefit from WhatsApp Business?

Leverage the power of WhatsApp Business and expand your customer communication to include your customers’ favorite messaging channel- whether you’re a small business that uses the free WhatsApp Business App or a professional service team that chooses to use the more advanced WhatsApp Business API.

This guide provides detailed information on WhatsApp Business features, benefits and policies.

 Userlike logo surrounded by different messenger logos

With Userlike, you don’t just get easy access to the WhatsApp Business API, you’ll also be able to expand your customer communication to other popular channels like Facebook Messenger, Telegram and SMS.

If you’re interested, feel free to contact us with this form . We’re looking forward to hearing from you and helping you get started with the WhatsApp Business API!