The Ultimate Guide to WhatsApp Business Platform/API Pricing

Niloofar Kavousi
November 11, 2022
The Ultimate Guide to WhatsApp Business Platform/API Pricing

Table of contents



Using WhatsApp Business API for customer communication can be a great way to connect with your customers and improve your business operations. However, it’s important to understand the potential costs involved in using the API, as they can sometimes be confusing. 

If you need to learn about the basics of WhatsApp Business API, please read An Introductory Guide to WhatsApp Business Platform/API first.

Keep in mind that the WhatsApp Business API does not have its own inbox, so you will need to connect it to a team inbox like Rasayel in order to send and receive messages.

You cannot gain direct access to WhatsApp Business API. This can only be done through Business Solution Providers (BSPs), which are partners of Meta (WhatsApp’s parent company). Meta’s partner directory contains a full list of official BSPs you can choose from.

WhatsApp Business API features, pricing, and support vary from one provider to another. To learn more about how to select the right BSP for you, please read the Comparison of WhatsApp Business Solution Providers.

In summary, if you want to send and receive messages via WhatsApp Business API, you will need to pay:

  • Meta/WhatsApp and 
  • a Business Solution Provider (BSP) of your choice and 
  • a communication platform or team inbox (such as Rasayel). 

The pricing models for BSPs and inboxes may vary, but WhatsApp’s pricing model remains the same regardless of which BSP, inbox, or other tools you choose.

Meta/WhatsApp’s Pricing Explained

Regardless of the BSP that you choose to get access to WhatsApp Business API, you must pay WhatsApp’s per-conversation fee. A conversation is a period of 24 hours from the moment you respond to a customer (or from the moment you send the first message). After this period ends, a new conversation begins when the business sends another message to the customer’s phone number.

The first 1000 conversations per month on WhatsApp are free. Beyond that, WhatsApp’s pricing is based on the type of conversation that takes place on the platform:

  • User-initiated conversations are those in which a customer initiates a chat with a business.
  • Business-initiated conversations are those in which a business initiates a chat with a customer (outside of an existing conversation or 24-hour period).

User-initiated conversations are charged at a lower rather than business-initiated ones. The country code of the customer’s (user’s) phone number also affects the rate charged. 

Cost example for a customer in Nigeria

A user-initiated conversation with a customer in Nigeria would cost $0.0310, while a business-initiated conversation with the same customer would cost $0.0516. 

To break it down further:

If this customer messages you at 1 PM on Monday and you reply to them at 2 PM on the same day, a user-initiated conversation has started at 2 PM on Monday and will end at 2 PM on Tuesday. The fee for this entire day will be $0.0310.

Now, if you then send them a message at 3 PM on Tuesday (after the 24-hour period has ended), you have now started a business-initiated conversation. The fee for the following 24 hours (until 3 PM on Wednesday) will be $0.0516.

1000 free conversations

As mentioned, the first 1,000 conversations of a WhatsApp Business account (WABA) per month are free. This is the case for both business-initiated and user initiated-conversations. This threshold remains the same even if you have more than one phone number connected to your WABA. If you do not use all of your free monthly conversations, they do not carry over to the next month.

To initiate a conversation with a customer outside of the 24-hour customer service window, you must use a WhatsApp message template. In The Complete Guide to WhatsApp Message Templates for Your Business, we talk about what they are and how to use them.

For a complete list of WhatsApp prices for user-initiated and business-initiated conversations based on country code, please check Rate Cards on WhatsApp’s Conversation-based Pricing Page.

Inbox Pricing

To be able to send and receive messages using WhatsApp Business API, you need a messaging platform or an inbox. Rasayel, as an example, is a team inbox that helps you sell to and support your customers over WhatsApp. You can also run marketing campaigns, build a WhatsApp chatbot, send automated notifications, auto-assign teammates to customers based on rules that you define, integrate it with Zapier, HubSpot, or Shopify, and more. 

Our pricing plans are simple:

Basic Plan ($100 per month)

It’s suitable for small teams with moderate messaging volume.

  • For up to 3 team members
  • $20 per additional member
  • You can connect up to 5 channels (either multiple WhatsApp channels or Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, and more)
  • Unlimited contacts
  • Unlimited messages
  • Importing contacts
  • Have it in your browser or as a mobile app for android and ios devices

Premium Plan ($200 per month)

It’s suitable for high volume teams with complex workflows.

  • For up to 10 team members
  • $20 per additional member
  • You can connect up to 50 channels (either multiple WhatsApp channels or Instagram, Facebook, Telegram and more)

It has all of the features of the basic plan plus the following features:

  • Assignments rules
  • Custom views
  • Bots 
  • Campaigns
  • Auto notifications
  • Reporting
  • Ability to integrate with Shopify, HubSpot and Zapier
  • Priority support via email or chat
  • Onboarding support

Enterprise Plan (Custom pricing)

This is the option for teams that need a custom tailored plan. It has the same features of the premium plan plus the following:

  • It can be customized for the number of team members you have
  • You can connect unlimited channels
  • We provide training, onboarding, priority support, and other services

Business Solution Providers (BSPs) Pricing Comparison

WhatsApp Business Solution Providers have different pricing models, and features vary from provider to another. Moreover, some providers give you access to the API only as a package with their software; therefore, you cannot use your platform of choice with them. One must consider all of these differences before selecting a provider. 

In general, WhatsApp solution providers follow one of these three pricing models:

  • Per message fee – You are charged for each message sent and each message received
  • Per message bundle fee – You are charged for every group of messages
  • Flat rate fee – Regardless of the number of messages you send or receive, you pay a fixed rate per month

Here are the pricing plans of three official business solution providers that Rasayel works with:

360dialog

Their pricing plans depend on whether you are an end user of the API or a partner looking to provide the API for end users. They have three pricing plans that are available publicly, and a discounted price for partners. For more information, please get in touch with them.

Rasayel’s partner price (US$15)
If you choose Rasayel as your WhatsApp inbox and 360dialog as your BSP, the cost of 360dialog is reduced to US$15 per month. This is regardless of the number of messages you send and receive or the number of team members you have. Please, WhatsApp us at +13024070488 or email us at support@rasayel.io for more information on this.

API only (starting €49)
A suitable starting point for most businesses. 

Professional (€99)
Same as the API-only package, with premium customer support.

Enterprise (starting €200)
Best for large companies with ultra-high bandwidth.

Meta/WhatsApp fees
The above prices don’t include WhatsApp fees for your conversations. Those fees are passed on to you at the end of every month as part of your 360dialog bill.

Twilio

Twilio charges $0.005 per user-initiated, business-initiated, and session message for all countries. This fee does not include the fee you need to pay WhatsApp for your conversations.

If your messaging volume is low (less than 3000 messages a month) or unpredictable, Twilio could be a cost-effective option.

You can estimate the cost for your business on Twillio’s pricing page.

MessageBird

MessageBird charges $0.005 per user-initiated, business-initiated, and session message for all countries. This fee does not include the fee you need to pay WhatsApp for your conversations.

If your messaging volume is low or unpredictable, MessageBird could be a cost-effective option.

For more information on MessageBird’s pricing, visit their website.

Which Business Solution Provider pricing model is the right one for you?

Having a good estimate of how many messages you send and receive per month helps you decide on the pricing model and provider that suits you best.

Per-message pricing is suitable for businesses with a low volume of messages (less than 3000) and fixed-rate pricing is suitable for businesses with a high volume.

Here is the cost comparison of the BSPs for three different monthly messaging volumes (excluding WhatsApp’s conversation fee and Rasayel’s monthly fee):

As seen in the table, if you send and receive up to 3,000 messages, including message templates, MessageBird and Twilio are more cost-effective. With a volume of more than 3,000, the cost for these providers increases considerably. 

How to Reduce Your Costs of Using the WhatsApp Business API

Estimate your messaging volume before choosing a BSP.

If your messaging volume is small, a BSP that charges you per message could be the right option. However, consider whether your business and messaging volume are going to grow in the future. A BSP that charges per message may not continue to be cost-effective in the long run.

Do not reply to spam messages.

WhatsApp doesn’t charge you if a customer starts a conversation with you. It charges you only if you respond to their message (user-initiated conversation). Therefore, you need to choose which customer messages are worth replying to so that you don’t unnecessarily incur a charge. At the same time, you must ensure customer satisfaction by attending to valid inquiries. With Rasayel’s inbox rules, you can weed out messages to some extent based on the criteria that you define. This way, you focus your time on customer inquiries that are worthwhile.

Automate auto-reply messages wisely.

If you have automated welcome and away messages that get sent right after customers’ first messages, they incur a user-initiated conversation cost (unless you have not crossed 1000 conversations). If your BSP charges you per message and you don’t have a high number of customer inquiries per month, using these messages could be a good idea. On the other hand, with a similar BSP and a high volume of customer inquiries, auto-replies could become too expensive. 

Resolve customer issues within the 24-hour customer service window.

All messages exchanged between your business and a customer in a 24-hour customer service window are associated with one conversation (one charge). If you have a customer support team, it’s more cost-effective to resolve customer inquiries within 24 hours. One way to do this is by using a WhatsApp chatbot to help customers self-serve. A human agent can attend to them if the bot cannot resolve their issue. 

You can benefit from Rasayel’s bots if you choose our premium or enterprise plan.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to keep in mind the various costs involved in using WhatsApp for your business:

  • WhatsApp conversation fee
  • WhatsApp Business Solution provider fee
  • Messaging tool or team inbox fee

While pricing varies from provider to another, so do the features and support they offer, so make sure you take your time in finding the right solution for your business - not just the cheapest one. 

If you need help selecting the right solution for your team, or to learn more about how WhatsApp can help you grow your business, please reach out to us on WhatsApp at +13024070488.

We also offer a free consultation session where we go through your use case, answer any questions you have about WhatsApp, and help you build a strategy to make the best out of the platform. Book a call with us below. We’d love to speak with you:
For Europe, Middle East, and Africa

For North and South America

Further Reading

An Introductory Guide to WhatsApp Business Platform/API

Comparison of WhatsApp Business Solution Providers (BSPs)

How to Gain Access to the WhatsApp Business Platform/API

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