WhatsApp API Pricing: Everything you need to know

Understand the pricing model and the pricing components of WhatsApp Business API and WhatsApp Cloud API in this blog.

WhatsApp API Pricing: Everything you need to know

After knowing about WhatsApp API and its features, pricing is the next most important thing to know. Though WhatsApp Business App is free to use, this is not the same with WhatsApp API. So, to understand the entire pricing model for WhatsApp API, you first need to be familiar with the various charges incurred for using the API. In this article, we’ll cover all the topics listed below and break them down into easily understandable bits of information:

  • WhatsApp Business pricing: A basic understanding
  • WhatsApp Business API pricing
  • WhatsApp Cloud API pricing
  • WhatsApp API for Sales team

WhatsApp Business pricing: A basic understanding

WhatsApp has 3 variants for businesses: WhatsApp Business App, WhatsApp Business API, and WhatsApp Cloud API. While the WhatsApp Business App is for small businesses with 1-2 salespeople, WhatsApp Business API and WhatsApp Cloud API is for large-scale messaging. Additionally, WhatsApp Cloud API is hosted on Meta's cloud servers, and WhatsApp Business API  is hosted on a WhatsApp partner's or business's server.

You can visit our blog to know more about WhatsApp Business API and WhatsApp Cloud API. If we look at the two variants from the perspective of the cost, the table below will help you understand the difference in pricing.

Pricing Comparison: WhatsApp Cloud API and WhatsApp Business API

WhatsApp Business API pricing

If you are opting for a WhatsApp Business API account, you need to understand that you can’t access it directly. Instead,  you must purchase a number from a WhatsApp Partner or Business Solution Provider (such as Twilio) and connect it to a WhatsApp-integrated CRM.

WhatsApp Business API pricing includes 3 components: WhatsApp API fees (User-initiates or business-initiated), Partner API pricing, and message inbox price.

The total WhatsApp business price depends on the items above

WhatsApp charges BSPs to host the WhatsApp API on their servers. The expense is transferred to end users, along with BSP costs. Certain partners may even impose a setup fee or a markup per communication. Additionally, connecting to a CRM or a message inbox might cost you.

In short, using on-premise WhatsApp API incurs a price that is a combination of WhatsApp API fees, BSP charges, and messaging inbox costs.

WhatsApp Business API pricing based on partner

We discussed how WhatsApp charges per conversation in the previous section. It is now time to discuss pricing from the perspective of the BSPs. Below are the pricing models used by the BSPs in addition to the WhatsApp fees:

  • Per-message
  • Message bundle
  • Per-monthly active users

In this blog, we are focusing only on the pricing model of Twilio - A WhatsApp business partner.

Pricing by Twilio

Twilio maintains a per-message pricing model or ‘pay-as-you-go pricing’ to ensure that you only pay for what you use.

Twilio WhatsApp Business API Pricing

Twilio charges an amount of $0.005 per message sent and received apart from WhatsApp conversation fees. This markup per message is applied to both WhatsApp Template Message pricing and Session Message pricing.

Make sure you visit our blog on getting WhatsApp API through Twilio for a comprehensive idea about the WhatsApp partner.

WhatsApp Cloud API pricing

Unlike WhatsApp Business API, WhatsApp Cloud API is hosted on Meta servers and is free to access. However, the users will be charged based on conversations. The conversation can be defined as the messages sent between the user and the business within the 24 hours window. This type of conversation-based pricing is segmented into two categories:

  • User-initiated: User-initiated conversations are the conversations initiated by customers. (For example, your customer sends you a query or your prospects request a demo.)  When businesses respond to these messages within the 24-hour messaging window, the charges incurred by the businesses will be user-initiated conversation fees.
  • Business-initiated: Business-initiated conversations are those initiated by businesses or messages sent after the 24-hour messaging window expires. For example, promotional messages sent to a prospect. Business-initiated conversations require message templates.

Although the above-given options are the pricing models of WhatsApp Cloud API, your first 1,000 conversations each month are free. You will have to add a payment method to your WhatsApp Business account only if you want to exceed 1,000 conversations per month.

Read more about conversation-based pricing here.

The other cost you may incur is connecting WhatsApp Cloud API with a messaging inbox.

So far, we have had a detailed discussion on the WhatsApp Business API pricing model and BSP pricing practices. In the next session, we will take you through the most common business use cases and how the current WhatsApp Business pricing model affects them.

WhatsApp API for sales teams

In growing sales teams, conversations are usually initiated by businesses. For example, a salesperson sends a follow-up to clients or starts a conversation with prospects. Hence, the first component of pricing, WhatsApp API fees are business-initiated, which costs more than the user-initiated pricing model.

The second component of pricing is the charges of BSPs. sales organisations that have opted for WhatsApp Cloud API rather than WhatsApp Business API can be in benefit since WhatsApp Cloud API eliminates the charges of BSPs.

The third component is the message inbox price or CRM price. This component is a constant for WhatsApp Business API as well as WhatsApp Cloud API.

With everything said, we recommended you analyse your business volume and sales requirements before you make the right choice of WhatsApp API and start sending messages with WhatsApp-integrated CRM.