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WhatsApp to charge businesses for sending marketing, customer service messages

03 August 2018

"Businesses will pay to send certain messages so they are selective and your chats don't get cluttered", WhatsApp said in a blog post. It's possible the app will eventually allow businesses to receive payments from customers, something else WhatsApp could charge companies for.

Businesses will be charged at a fixed rate for sending non-promotional messages like order status, appointment reminder, flight tickets, movies or other events on WhatsApp Business. The API can also plug into customer relationship management tools like Twilio and Zendesk. Just like messages, group voice and video calling in WhatsApp are also end-to-end encrypted. Answering someone within 24 hours costs nothing, but replying any later will incur a charge.

Following up on its announcement previous year, WhatsApp has started opening up its business API to help people and businesses communicate with each other.

A WhatsApp Business ads in Facebook's News Feed. "We realised that it was a useful tool for businesses in India and created value for the consumers as well", said Matthew Idema, chief operating officer at WhatsApp to ET.

While WhatsApp doesn't have advertising outright, it is increasing functionality for businesses on its platform called WhatsApp Business. Those who need, say, shipping confirmation or a boarding pass, can give their mobile number to a business on a website, through their app or in store so they can get information on WhatsApp.

Some of the key enterprises enabled by Gupshup to gain early access to WhatsApp Business include Citibank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank, and DishTV, the statement said.

Businesses will also be able to provide click-to-chat buttons on their website or Facebook page so that customers can easily begin a conversation with them on WhatsApp. The new WhatsApp feature is now available for users around the world on iOS and Android.