March 27, 2024

How WhatsApp Business API Pricing Works

Reading time about 6 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.

Businesses send large-scale marketing WhatsApp Campaigns through the WhatsApp Business API. To access it, you need to sign up for a WhatsApp partner, AKA Business Solution Provider (BSP).

Different providers charge differently, but generally, you pay to play. Their pricing covers Meta’s cost per conversation as well as the BSP’s cost for its services and features. 

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) where users pay to send marketing campaigns to subscribers.

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

Meta’s WhatsApp API pricing model

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 exchange.

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

If you start a conversation of a different category during a 24-hour conversation, you’ll be charged for a new conversation (more below).

Finally, WhatsApp API pricing also varies by country. WhatsApp’s pricing changes based on the country code of the recipient. 

Conversation categories and pricing

WhatsApp conversations come in four conversation categories. Let’s explore how the WhatsApp Business API pricing works for different categories and use cases. 

Business-initiated conversations

The first three categories are messages that are sent by a business to a contact using a pre-made message template. These template messages need to be approved by Meta before they can be used. 

Businesses are charged when they start a new conversation using a template message, and each conversation window lasts 24 hours. 

Marketing conversations 

The first message template category is marketing conversations. These are promotional messages such as notifications about sales, company news, and so on. For Meta’s purposes, any outbound message that is not a utility or authentication message is counted as a marketing message. 

Utility conversations

When you run an online shop, for example, you can use WhatsApp for transactional messages. Order updates, shipping statuses, billing and post-purchase notifications are all utility messages. 

Authentication conversations

The final category is authentication messages. They are sent to verify user identity with a code. 

Important! Once you have a conversation of one category going, you can send a message of the same category 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. 

User-initiated conversations

These have slightly different usage rules than business-initiated messages.

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)
  • User-initiated conversations are billed as one session if you manage to answer within the 24-hour customer service window
  • Sending a service message during an open template conversation doesn’t cost extra
  • Be careful with setting up automation and chatbots. Automated responses are counted as an answer and thus a billed session begins
  • Sending a service message during a template conversation doesn’t cost extra.

Free entry point conversations

You can save on some charges using Click to WhatsApp ads or Facebook CTAs (calls-to-action) buttons on your Facebook page. These conversations are free if a user starts a conversation with you from one of these points (you only pay for the ad). Your conversation window lasts 72 hours

WhatsApp Business API pricing models offered by BSPs

WhatsApp Business API pricing models vary across BSPs’ WhatsApp marketing software offer.

Monthly plan or flat fee

Many WhatsApp providers have a recurring fee, e.g. a monthly plan. 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 because we believe you shold 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 you may not send messages consistently to all contacts.

By user

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

Setup or license fee

Some providers require a one-time setup or license fee, usually in addition to the message costs. 

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 ability to send large marketing campaigns and engage customers on a whole new level.

With Brevo, you only pay for the messages you send, 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 pricing possible
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing
  • 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

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