But to enjoy the perks that come with the upgraded version, users must apply for WhatsApp Business API and make sure it’s approved. So, what does it take to apply for the account, and how long does it take to be approved? This article has the answers to these queries and many more.
Part 1: What does the WhatsApp API cost?
Millions of companies are already using WhatsApp in their client communication. Younger generations prefer texting over phone calls or reading emails, and that’s precisely what a WhatsApp account offers. With a WhatsApp Business App, you can upgrade your customer communication capabilities in the world’s most famous messaging app.
It works similar to the standard WhatsApp account, although it adds specific business-oriented features like quick replies, automated messages, catalogs, etc. What’s better, it’s free.
But the main drawback of the WhatsApp Business app is that it is a single-user account. In addition, the app isn’t GDPR-compliant, which can be a security concern for bigger brands. For these reasons, WhatsApp API has been introduced to cater to businesses with large customer bases.
It offers end-to-end encryption, automatic messaging, bulk messaging, and syncing with CRMs. Here, you won’t directly use the standard WhatsApp UI. Instead, you’ll connect it to a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP).
But all these features aren’t for free. This solution provider uses a paid model, although at very affordable rates. While the messages clients send to you are free, you only have 24 hours to respond for free, or a fee is charged per message or template. This depends on the message volume and billing in your country. For instance, you’ll pay 3 cents per message in the UK.
In addition to that, you can use an official BSP for WhatsApp who usually charges a monthly fee. For example, Userlike offers this WhatsApp service for $90/month. On the other hand, MessagePeople is more expensive at $499/month. And yes, some providers charge a one-time fee. A good example is Vonage, which charges $1,000.
Part 2: How to get access to the WhatsApp Business API
Yes, that’s right! Creating a WhatsApp Business API account isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. That’s because your company must be large or medium-sized to get the pass. It should have a verified Facebook account with more than 10k likes or followers in most cases. For this reason, obtaining approval for your small startup is highly unlikely.
Another thing to remember before applying for a WhatsApp API account is the industry you’re operating in. Industries such as gaming, gambling, adult content, alcohol, and tobacco are unlikely to get approval. Also, political organizations and government-run parastatals are unlikely to be approved because WhatsApp doesn’t want to come across as supporting a specific political view.
If your company ticks all these boxes, then use these steps to get your WhatsApp API account verified:
Step 1. Choose an application format
There are two methods to get WhatsApp Business API. First, you can sign up directly on the official Facebook Business Manager page. Here, you’ll need the following things:
- A verified business.
- Facebook Business Manager account.
- WhatsApp Business account.
- Credit line for WhatsApp Business.
- A command-line center like Postman to perform cURL (Client URL) requests.
After verifying your business, WhatsApp will review it and approve or decline the request. This usually takes 30 days at most. You can see your account status under Settings in Business Manager.
Alternatively, you can use a BSP. This method will usually get your account approved quickly and lessen your workload. Popular WhatsApp API BSPs include ACL Mobile Limited, 360dialog Botmaker, Edna, etc. As expected, most of these third-party services would gladly help you get through the WhatsApp API application process.
Below are some of the information that the BSP might request:
- Company name
- Company headquarters location.
- Intended use of the account.
- An approximate number of messages is expected.
- When you want to launch the service.
- Approval can take 2-3 weeks.
Step 2. Connect WhatsApp API to CRM.
After the brand is approved and your phone number is activated, you’ll get a WhatsApp API key. This is what you’ll use to link it to a CRM. Remember that WhatsApp API is just that – an API. Therefore, there is no app or front-end interface. In that case, use the API key and connect it to your business software. Again, most CRMs will happily help you integrate their services to WhatsApp Business API. WhatsApp channel integration takes around 1 to 2 days.
Pro tip: Can one use more than a single number of WhatsApp API? The answer is yes. But remember that each number will need a docker server. This can lead to increased monthly costs.
Part 3. How to backup WhatsApp Business chats quickly and easily
If you already have an active WhatsApp Business App, backing up all data is the wisest thing you can do. You can back up group chats, individual chats, media, documents like invoices, and so on. Lucky enough, doing that is dead simple on the app or using third-party software on PC. So let’s jump into details!
Method 1. Backup WhatsApp Business on phone.
Backing up WhatsApp Business on Android isn’t different from using a personal WhatsApp account. In other words, you’ll back up your data on Google Drive and schedule backups on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Here’s how to do it:
- Launch your WhatsApp Business app and then tap the Ellipsis
- Next, click Settings and then tap Chats.
- Now click Chat backup and then tap BACK UP if you already have a linked Google Drive account.
Method 2. Backup WhatsApp Business on computer.
In this method, we’ll learn how to transfer WhatsApp Business from Android or iPhone to PC using Wondershare MobileTrans. It’s a Mac/Win software that lets users back all WhatsApp Business data like documents, videos, text messages, audio, video calls, and so on. So, without much dilly-dallying, here is how to do it:
Step 1. Install and run MobileTrans on PC, then connect your smartphone to PC using a USB wire.
Step 2. Click the Backup & Restore tab and click Backup app data on MobileTrans.
Step 3. Select WhatsApp Business and then follow the instructions on the screen to enable USB debugging on your smartphone.
Step 4. Once your device is connected to the software, select the WhatsApp Business data you want to backup on PC and tap Start. And there is that!
I hope you’ve learned a lot up to here. Just a brief reminder; WhatsApp Business API is a paid service for established businesses, whereas WhatsApp Business is a smartphone app for small business conversations. Also, WhatsApp API doesn’t offer a WhatsApp UI per se. Instead, communication is facilitated via a linked CRM system. Another thing, use MobileTrans to backup all your WhatsApp Business data on PC and mobile.