Making it official! SleekFlow is a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider.

WhatsApp generated $8.7 billion in revenue in 2021. Its popularity across the world and especially in UAE, has successfully attracted businesses to incorporate its useful features for customer engagement, marketing, and sales.

While the WhatsApp Business App is still free to download, every WhatsApp Business API account has a fee charged per conversation, and the pricing varies depending on the country.

Although WhatsApp voice calls and video calls are banned in the UAE, it is still a highly popular messaging app with over 7.97 million users nationwide, which stands for 80.2% of the country's total population.

Interested in using WhatsApp for your business? It’s not that complicated! We have put together a complete guide to show you how. Check out the WhatsApp Business API pricing and its billing process right below.

What is the WhatsApp Business API?

WhatsApp Business API is a messaging solution tailored for businesses to effectively improve communication, marketing, and sales.

Users are strongly encouraged to partner with global business solution providers that are messaging experts in the field of enterprise businesses and customer communications, for example, 360dialog, to connect with customers via WhatsApp.

Since WhatsApp has such a massive pool of users worldwide (over 2 billion users as of 2022!), businesses can utilize WhatsApp links to make it easier for customers to contact them and use a WhatsApp Manager to better manage the surge in conversations!

Introduction to the official WhatsApp Business API

WhatsApp has become an essential messaging tool in our daily lives, and if your UAE business is not taking advantage of this, you may be losing out on certain benefits that can bring your brand to the next level.

Other than the WhatsApp that we use for personal messaging, there are two types of accounts WhatsApp has introduced for businesses, which are the WhatsApp Business App and the official WhatsApp Business API, also known as the WhatsApp Business Platform.

Let's take a look at a simple comparison below.

WhatsAppWhatsApp Business AppWhatsApp Business API / WhatsApp Business Platform
Verified Business Profile (green tick)XX
Multi-agent accessX up to four linked devicesUnlimited
Broadcast messagingXAt risk of suspensionUnlimited
Managing multiple number in one viewXX
Integration with other softwareXXCRM, e-commerce softwares softwares
Application methodDownload from Apple App Store / Google Play StoreDownload from Apple App Store / Google Play Storevia SleekFlow

Basically, WhatsApp Business API allows your business to explore a number of useful features and generate more sales through messaging. On the other hand, WhatsApp Business App is good for small to medium businesses for limited use.

Emirates Airlines uses WhatsApp Business API for customer service

Emirates Airlines uses WhatsApp Business API in UAE

Emirates Airlines has been utilizing its official WhatsApp Business account for customer interaction. Other than the green tick verification on its WhatsApp profile, automated responses are set up to reply to FAQs immediately, no matter where the customers are or when the messages are sent. This means that they can allocate more time and manpower for more complicated issues and to handle angry or impatient customers.

Emirates offers customer service through WhatsApp Business API

The benefits of using WhatsApp Business API can be summarized below:

  • a verified WhatsApp Business profile: green tick verification

  • chatbots and automated responses for FAQs

  • personalized broadcast messages

  • interactive messages with chat buttons

  • multiple logins

To read more information about the Official WhatsApp Business API, you can check out here.

WhatsApp's conversation-based pricing model in 2022

WhatsApp has announced a new pricing model, switching from notification-based to conversation-based, effective from 1 February 2022. In other words, businesses will be charged per conversation instead of notifications sent.

To begin with, the first 1000 conversations each month are free!

Following that, conversations will be charged according to the two categories divided, which are user-initiated and business-initiated. Rates for the two categories vary by market. 

  • Business-initiated conversation

This type of conversation starts when businesses reach out to customers by sending a message. Only template messages can be used for this type of conversation.

  • User-initiated conversation

This type of conversation begins when messages are sent to reply to customers. This means that the customer is the one who sent your business a message first. For this type of conversation, businesses can send free-form messages instead of just template messages.

However, businesses have to take note that there is a customer care window in which user-initiated conversations will end 24 hours after the last message your customers sent. After this 24-hour window, businesses will have to begin a new conversation with a template message.

WhatsApp Business - Cost per conversation in AED

MarketBusiness-initiated conversation (AED)User-initiated rate (AED)
United Arab Emirates$ 0.12$ 0.07
United States$ 0.037$ 0.032
United Kingdom$ 0.29$ 0.17

WhatsApp Pricing Calculator

Now you can calculate your messaging cost using SleekFlow's WhatsApp pricing calculator!

WhatsApp pricing calculator for the UAE

You may also visit Facebook’s website for more information.

Try out our WhatsApp Pricing Calculator for your broadcast cost!

Factors that affect the WhatsApp Business API pricing

If you are using WhatsApp Business API already, you should understand how everything used to work. However, with the new pricing model in place, there are a few factors that may affect your monthly spending on WhatsApp Business API.

1. Country/region

The fee for each business-initiated or user-initiated conversation depends on the country your business is located. You may refer to the table above to check the pricing for your region.

2. Customer care window

As mentioned earlier, there is a customer care window in the conversation-based structure created by WhatsApp. If a customer sends a message to you, the 24 hours following the last message received from the customer is known as the Customer Care Window.

Beyond this Customer Care Window, businesses will then have to start the business-initiated conversation again with a Template Message.

So, what are template messages? Read on to find out.

Official WhatsApp Business API's message type

According to Facebook, businesses need to follow specific formats when drafting a notification send-out. More importantly, the content has to be consistent with its terms and policies. To understand that, we must first know the two basic types of messages, template messages and session messages.

Template messages

Template messages are pre-approved message templates for outbound notifications like delivery alerts and appointment reminders and cannot be used for marketing purposes.

You must use a WhatsApp Template Message if more than 24 hours have elapsed since the user’s last response to you. Any other types of messages sent outside the 24-hour window will fail to reach the user.

For example, if you want your customer to receive this message:
“Hi, Harry! Your Order Number: 20200120 has been dispatched. Thank you!”

You will need to submit the following template:
“Hi, {{1}}! Your Order Number: {{2}} has been dispatched. Thank you!”

Hence, the first variable will be the customer name labeled as {{1}}, and the second variable will be the order number labeled as {{2}}.

Session messages

Session messages are any messages sent and received in response to a user-initiated message and do not require pre-approval.

A messaging session starts when a user sends you a message and lasts for 24 hours from the most recently received message.

You can wait for users to message you, and it would be a user-initiated conversation, or you can send a Template Message to invite the user to respond, which generates a business-initiated conversation.

WhatsApp Business API pricing in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates, as listed on Facebook's official pricing table, has a fee of US $ 0.0316 and US $0.0190 for business-initiated conversations and user-initiated conversations, respectively. So if your business is based in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, it will incur fees as stated above.

According to the current exchange rate in December 2022, each business-initiated conversation will cost AE $0.12, while each user-initiated conversation will cost AE $0.07. For businesses with a large customer database, these conversation fees will be more budget-friendly compared to message-based charges.

Calculate your costs using our WhatsApp Business API calculator in the above section.

WhatsApp Business API provider pricing

SleekFlow, as the official WhatsApp Business Solution Provider, offers no markup pricing for the WhatsApp Business API. Users in UAE will only need to pay a monthly fee of US $15 (~AE $55.09) for each hosted number to enjoy the latest benefits available on the WhatsApp Business Platform.

As SleekFlow uses the WhatsApp Cloud API hosted by Meta, it guarantees a much stabler connection and offers from 80 up to 500 MPS (messaging per second) for WhatsApp Broadcast. Also, the easy yet powerful onboarding process only requires 3 minutes before you start experiencing the advantages of having an official WhatsApp Business account.

*Some WhatsApp Business API providers mark up their prices with extra service fees. Choose wisely.

Find out how to get started with WhatsApp Business API through SleekFlow.

Understanding the billing process for WhatsApp Business API

Once your business starts implementing the WhatsApp Business API, it is of utmost importance for you to learn how to view payments and understand the invoice.

When creating a WhatsApp Business account, the system requires you to apply for a line of credit. After the application has been approved, a monthly invoice will be shown in the 'Payment Settings' section within your WhatsApp Business Manager.

As mentioned above, the invoice that includes all spending associated with the same WhatsApp Business Manager will be emailed to users during the first week of each month. The payments can then be settled by bank transfer to the Facebook bank account listed on each invoice. To avoid late payment charges, fees should be paid within 30 days following the invoice date.

The billing process is even simpler for SleekFlow customers! All you need to do is top up your WhatsApp credits through the SleekFlow platform, and the WhatsApp fees will be automatically deducted depending on your usage.

Unleash your WhatsApp Business potential today!

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