Ultimate Guide

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

Chris Lai
Content Writer, Respond.io
November 30, 2019

Struggling to understand WhatsApp Business 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 costs & pricing models, as well as how to choose the cheapest WhatsApp API Provider with the best WhatsApp API Pricing for Sales, Support & Notifications.

How To Choose A WhatsApp API Partner

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 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

WhatsApp Partners or WhatsApp Business Solution Providers are services that help you connect to WhatsApp API. 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.

By outsourcing Partners, Facebook can keep WhatsApp’s headcount low. Plus, WhatsApp protects the platform from spamming by controlling which companies have API access. In summary, it is less resource-intensive and more cost-effective.

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

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.

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.

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

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

WhatsApp Partners functionality restrictions
Some Restrictions you Might Face with certain WhatsApp Partners

As WhatsApp Partners are free to set up their own pricing, they charge businesses a markup to make a profit. Many don’t put their pricing information publicly on the website. So 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

It’s not just Partners that are responsible for the complex WhatsApp Business API Pricing. WhatsApp also changes the prices at its discretion. In this guide, we’ll help you choose the cheapest WhatsApp Web API Partner based on your use case.

WhatsApp API Pricing by Partners

WhatsApp Business Account price varies across WhatsApp API 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 WhatsApp API Partners’ pricing models.

WhatsApp API Pricing: How WhatsApp Charges Partners

WhatsApp is undergoing some changes. A new pricing plan charged by conversations is coming soon. After testing it in Mexico for one year, it will roll out to the rest of the World on February 1, 2022.

This means that instead of paying per notification or message sent, businesses will pay per conversation. The fees will depend on the end User’s phone number, and whether the conversation is business or User-initiated.

WhatsApp Business API pricing changes in 2022
Changes in the API Pricing Model for 2022

At present, we don’t know how WhatsApp API Partners will adapt to the new pricing model. We’ll be updating this blog with all the latest pricing changes and Partner recommendations in the future. For now, we’ll discuss the current notification-based pricing model.

Before we dive into the details of the WhatsApp API pricing model, it's important that you understand the concept of WhatsApp Chat 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. Per contra, 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 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 Message Template 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 Message Template 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 Message Template prices listed in the Message Template 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 Message Template.

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 Business API pricing? Twilio charges a fixed fee of $0.005 per Session Message. What about Messagebird WhatsApp API pricing? Similarly, MessageBird’s Session Message Rate is $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 Message Template pricing is generally higher than Session Message. That said, businesses typically send fewer monthly Message Templates to a given user than they do Session Messages. In fact, Template Messaging is 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.

WhatsApp API Partner 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 Messaging.

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, 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 price for Sales, Support and Notifications.

Choosing the Partner with the Cheapest WhatsApp API Pricing

WhatsApp for Business 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?

Choosing the cheapest WhatsApp API 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. These are our findings.

MesssageBird Pricing

MessageBird offers businesses four different Monthly Active Contacts plans. All of them include inbox, omnichannel builder, and basic flow builder.

  • Startup: Free. Conversations with up to 50 active contacts/month.
  • Pro: $50 per month. Conversations with up to 500 active contacts/month.
  • Pro Plus: $150 per month. Conversations with up to 1500 active contacts/month.
  • Custom: Based on quotation, businesses can decide how many MACs they need for communications.

MAC plans are good for sales in low volume, high margin businesses. In this case, salespeople use Message Templates to follow with a limited amount of clients. Therefore, it can be the most cost-effective option.

MessageBird Pricing Model
MessageBird WhatsApp API Pricing Model

But businesses must pay $0.30 for every additional MAC. Plus, MessageBird does have a $0.005 markup per Message Template in addition to WhatsApp standard fees. And the price per session message is $0.005. This means that the total costs will be higher than your MAC plan of choice.

Twilio Pricing

Not all WhatsApp partners have monthly plans. Twilio’s usage-based model allows businesses to pay only for the session and Message Template that they use. In their own words, “pay-as-you-go-pricing makes sure you only pay for what you use”.

Twilio’s pricing model is suitable for notifications. Businesses don’t usually send large amounts of updates and news to their customer list. Unlike MAU or message bundle plans, per-message pricing allows for more flexibility.

High-volume low-margin businesses also benefit from per-message pricing. Actually, Message Templates are really important for sales, since salespeople have to follow prospects during their customer journey.

Twilio API Pricing Model
Twilio WhatsApp API Pricing Model

Just like MessageBird, Twilio has a $0.005 markup per Message Template on top of WhatsApp standard fees. The price per session Message is set to $0.005 too. So, is there any partner that grants free session messaging? Let’s discuss our third option.

Cheapest WhatsApp API: 360dialog Pricing

Most likely, you will end up using the WhatsApp channel for Sales, Support, and Notifications. So here's the best overall Partner we recommend.

The ideal WhatsApp Partner should offer low prices for both Session and Template Messaging. Not only does 360dialog offer unlimited Session Messaging, but it also has the best 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 Message Template Rate Card.

360dialog API Pricing Model
360dialog WhatsApp API Pricing Model

For these reasons, 360dialog is the cheapest WhatsApp API. And with respond.io, now you can get it for a bargain price at just $5 per month. 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 cost. If you enjoyed this article and you'd like to learn more about WhatsApp Business, check out our articles on:

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