June 27, 2023

How WhatsApp Business API Pricing Works

Reading time about 8 min
A man happily looking at Brevo's WhatsApp API pricing plan.

If you’ve decided to diversify with WhatsApp marketing, it’s important to know how WhatsApp API pricing works for budgeting and planning.

As you know, WhatsApp Campaigns, the marketing functionality for businesses that want to grow using the messaging app, is available through the WhatsApp Business API. You need to sign up for a WhatsApp partner or Business Solution Provider (BSP) to access it.

Different providers charge differently, but generally, you pay to play. Sometimes the price is tied to using the rest of the BSP’s platform such as CRM.

So let’s explore the WhatsApp Business API Pricing and the various pricing plans you can expect.

Does WhatsApp cost money? 

There are two WhatsApp for business options. One is the free WhatsApp Business app and the other is the API (WhatsApp Business Platform).

The superior features and scalability are the main difference between the WhatsApp Business API and the free WhatsApp Business app.

WhatsApp offers its Business API as a scalable marketing tool for mid and large businesses. The WhatsApp API itself is free but messages are charged per session in what is known as a conversation-based pricing model.

A WhatsApp conversation includes all messages exchanged between your business and a contact in a 24-hour conversation window, regardless of the number of messages you send

Since 24 hours is a lot of time to assist a customer, you’re essentially charged for a full conversation, regardless of the number of messages.

If more than 24 hours have passed since the last user message, you can start a new conversation and so a new session will start (and be charged).

WhatsApp’s pricing also depends on the country code of the end user. You as a business can message people in any country, but you’ll be charged differently. Here’s the official WhatsApp price list. Then, different pricing applies whether the chat is initiated by a user or the business.

One very important thing to know about how WhatsApp Business API pricing works is that it’s free to access, but each BSP has a different model for paying for WhatsApp conversations. Keep that in mind when comparing prices from different providers.

Discover more about WhatsApp marketing software.

WhatsApp Business API pricing models offered by BSPs

Warning: Not all BSPs are officially allowed by Meta to offer the WhatsApp API for marketing, e.g. WhatsApp Campaigns. Sending mass messages through them can be an issue.

With that in mind, here are the most common ways WhatsApp API prices are formed.

Monthly plan or flat fee

Many WhatsApp providers have a recurring fee, e.g. a monthly plan, to simply activate the channel for you and give you access to the API. They usually charge separately for messages sent.

Another approach is having a flat fee or a bundle of a certain amount of messages you can send per month. Needless to say, it comes with lots of limitations.

Markup per message

A straightforward pricing model is simply charging per message with a small markup for the provider, just like for SMS. This is Brevo’s model and we believe it’s fair because you only pay for what you use without recurring surcharges. To do this, you buy WhatsApp credits as needed.

Per contact

Similarly to email marketing software, some BSPs charge by contact list size or monthly active WhatsApp contacts. This can easily be the most expensive way to use WhatsApp Business API since the list size doesn’t automatically translate into messages sent. Depending on your strategy, you might just take the time and build it, and not send massive campaigns each month but get billed more and more for it.

By user

Another equally inconvenient WhatsApp pricing model is by user seat. When the API’s main idea is to be scalable and to enable your marketing and support teams to do more, charging by team member count seems limiting to growth.

Setup or license fee

Some providers require a one-time setup fee, usually in addition to the message costs. For enterprise clients, it can be called a license fee but it’s the same thing — and WhatsApp doesn’t require it at all.

Conversation categories

The rules for WhatsApp conversations also vary by conversation category. Let’s explore how the WhatsApp Business API pricing works for different teams and use cases. 

Business-initiated messages

The first category is messages that are sent by a business to a contact. These require the business to create a message template that it then needs to send to Meta for approval before it can be used. Let’s take a look at what kinds of conversations you can have including some use cases and characteristics for each one. 

Marketing conversations 

The first message template category is marketing conversations. Before sending any outbound promotional message to your contacts, you first need to draft your message on a template and get it approved for marketing use. 

  • Outbound notifications about sales, company news, and other promotional messages
  • Any outbound message that is not a utility or authentication message is counted as a marketing message
  • Requires message template 
  • 24-hour sessions apply here too
  • If the conversation goes over the 24-hour period since the first business message, it needs to be reset with a template message
  • Easy to control the cost with a sending plan/ schedule and a CRM to target specific contacts
  • Can be one-to-many or individual depending on your sales process

Utility conversations

When you run an online shop, for example, you can use WhatsApp for transactional messages. Offer your customers to sign up for order updates, shipping statuses, and billing notifications. These are not promotional messages but the template still needs to be approved by Meta. 

  • Conversations that your contact has given permission to receive
  • Related to shipping, billing, and other transactional updates like post-purchase notifications
  • Outbound message
  • Requires message template
  • 24-hour conversation window applies

Authentication conversations

The final category that needs your message template to be approved by Meta is authentication messages such as account verification. 

  • Requires message template
  • 24-hour conversation window applies

Good to know: You can save on some messaging charges using Facebook ads or CTAs (calls-to-action) buttons on your Facebook page. These free entry point conversations are free if a user starts a conversation with you from one of these points (you only pay for the ad) and your conversation window lasts 72 hours. Meta wants to interconnect both platforms and so you win a free session.

User-initiated conversations

Service conversations

These conversations are user-initiated (inbound) customer inquiries coming in for customer support teams.

  • Receiving messages from users is free until you reply (a good way to skip irrelevant messages and costs), in which case the session starts
  • User-initiated conversations are billed as one session if you manage to answer within the 24-hour customer service window
  • Be careful with setting up automation because they are counted as an answer and thus a billed session begins

Important! Once you have a conversation of one type going, you can send a message of the same type at no cost during the 24-hour period. If you send a message of a different type during a conversation (like a marketing message during a service conversation), it will open a new conversation and you will be charged. 

WhatsApp Business API by Brevo pricing

Ready to try the WhatsApp Business API? As a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider, Brevo offers easy setup and simple pricing. 

Small businesses will find it easy to start and convenient to only pay for what they use. Larger businesses will benefit from the scalability and the lack of limitations of the API.

You only pay for the messages you sent, no additional charges. Once you’ve enabled WhatsApp Campaigns from Brevo, linked your WhatsApp business account (WABA), and purchased pay-as-you-go WhatsApp credits, you can start sending messages to your contacts. 

On top of that, using WhatsApp through the Brevo API, you get signup forms for building your WhatsApp contact list and an integrated place for list management. Plus, Brevo saves your message templates for you so you don’t need to get approval twice.

What should you know about Brevo pricing for WhatsApp?

  • Access to API is free — the cheapest WhatsApp API possible
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing, not tied to a plan (available even on Free plan)
  • No setup/license fees
  • Credits don’t expire 
  • Price doesn’t depend on media included or message template length
  • No limit on contact list size, users, phone numbers, or message templates submitted to approval

Here is how the WhatsApp Business API pricing works with Brevo in selected countries. 

To countryPrice in EURPrice in USDPrice in AUDPrice in GBPPrice in INR
US & Canada€0.0290$0.0330$0.0458£0.0252₹2.3511

Get Started with the WhatsApp Business API by Brevo

Pay only for WhatsApp messages, and enjoy unlimited contacts and integrated signup forms for building a WhatsApp list. No developer needed for API integration.

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