Published: Thu, August 02, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

WhatsApp starts charging business users

WhatsApp starts charging business users

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.

They can respond to messages from users for free for up to 24 hours, but will be charged a fixed rate by country for messages sent after that.

WhatsApp, which has around 1.5 billion users, said starting Wednesday businesses can use its WhatsApp Business API to send notifications such as shipping confirmations, appointment reminders and event tickets.

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In return, the businesses will pay a fee for a confirmed delivery. When a customer reaches out to a business with a question such as how do they book their travel or when their order will be delivered, the business will be able to respond for free within 24 hours.

After previously making changes to the group chat feature, which enabled users to make the group silent and allowed the group creator to send messages and not other members, users can now also leave the group permanently to avoid being added back. The messages will cost between 0.5 cents to 9 cents (0.3p to 7p).

Facebook paid $19bn to buy WhatsApp in 2014 and there has always been speculation about how Facebook meant to make money from it. The company claimed that WhatsApp has become its largest source of inbound traffic, with 90 percent of the messages delivered via the app read by customers.

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WhatsApp is still only working with a relatively small group of companies, but it says it plans to bring more larger organizations onboard in the future.

The company said all group calls would be encrypted.

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