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WhatsApp tests free Business app, but will charge larger enterprises

05 September 2017

WhatsApp, with its daily user base of over a billion people, could become an integral point in customer service initiatives, especially in areas where it's already being used for that objective.

"We're building and testing new tools via a free WhatsApp Business app for small companies and an enterprise solution for bigger companies operating at a large scale with a global base of customers, like airlines, e-commerce sites, and banks", the company wrote. In a new blogpost, WhatsApp says, "In the coming months, we'll be testing new features that aim to solve some of these challenges, and make it easier for people to communicate with the businesses they want to reach on WhatsApp".

With WhatsApp's impending digital payments foray in India, we are also curious on what role would payments play in the tools that the messaging app is developing for businesses.

"WhatsApp has simplified communication for people around the world", WhatsApp COO Matt Idema told VentureBeat in a statement. Enrolled businesses, apart from having a verified badge, will also feature a peculiar profile page containing details such as their store's timings, address, website or Facebook address, a little summary of what they do, and location as well.

Businesses that have been verified on WhatsApp will have a green check-mark displayed alongside their name, to reassure users. But at the heart of the WhatsApp Business app is money.

We know businesses have many different needs.

Started in 2009, WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for an eye-popping $22 billion in 2014.

Facebook has decided how to finally make money from WhatsApp: charge businesses that want to conduct customer support in the app.

The Facebook-owned chat platform just announced that it will test some new features designed specifically for business-to-customer messaging, following up on the rumors that it would expand on its offerings.

The good thing is that, in order to contact customers, companies will have to receive an approval from the user.

In July, Facebook started showing advertisements inside Messenger, sandwiched between users' conversations when they open the app.

WhatsApp tests free Business app, but will charge larger enterprises