How to estimate the costs for a Business-initiated or an User-initiated conversation?

WhatsApp Conversation-Based Pricing Model (June 2023)

WhatsApp Business API Pricing Model

In this latest update released by Meta, they are introducing a totally transparent and pay-as-you-use conversation-based pricing (CBP) model. This model drills down the tedious payment process and makes it easier to pay per conversation instead of paying per message.

What are the latest changes in WhatsApp pricing?

Businesses already using the WhatsApp Business Platform will be charged per 24-hour conversation, with different charges based on the conversation category. Effective June 1, business-initiated conversations will be charged based on the template categories: utility, authentication and marketing. As we advance, the user-initiated conversations will be termed service conversations.

New Business Conversation Categories

Every business must initiate a conversation using the template messages.

Business-initiated conversations

The three business-initiated (require customer opt-in) conversation categories are:
    •    Utility conversations: To send transactional updates, order status, and critical alerts to customers.
    •    Authentication conversations: To send one-time passwords/codes allowing customers to access their accounts securely.
    •    Marketing conversations:  Send promotional offers and product announcements to increase customer awareness.

User-initiated conversations

    •    Service conversations: The user-initiated conversations will be categorized as service conversations, which help customers to resolve their queries.

What is the CBP model?

Instead of charging the customer for every message they send, businesses will now be charged per conversation. In addition, every conversation has a 24-hour messaging window where the customers can send any number of messages.

What are the two types of a business conversation?

WhatsApp Business Platform conversations are of two types and priced differently: A business conversation starts when the first business message in a conversation is delivered, either initiated by the business or in response to a customer's message. Businesses and their customers can exchange any number of messages, including template messages, within this 24-hour conversation session without incurring additional charges.

1. User-Initiated Conversation

The user-initiated conversations will be categorized as service conversations, which help customers to resolve their queries.

A conversation that is initiated as a response to a customer's message. No prior opt-in is required. When your business responds to the customer, a 24-hour customer service window begins. All messages sent back and forth between the customer and the business within this service window are free and associated with this conversation.

2. Business-Initiated Conversation

The three business-initiated conversation categories are utility, authentication and marketing conversations.

A conversation that initiates from a business sending a customer a message outside the 24-hour customer service window. Messages that start a business-initiated conversation will require a message template. Once the customer responds to the business's template message, the business can then send any type of message to the customer.
Multiple conversation session windows
It is now possible to have multiple billable conversation windows open with a given customer. See conversation examples in our pricing explainer doc for how the conversation session window works.

What is the Customer Service Window?

A customer service window is a 24-hour window that starts when a business replies to a customer's message in a user-initiated conversation or sends a template message to the customer to create a business-initiated conversation.
Once a customer service window has commenced, a business can send any type of message to the customer. After this window expires, a new conversation must be initiated by either the customer or the business to start a new customer service window.
The customer's phone number used to send a WhatsApp message is the "Phone" attribute of the contact. It should ideally be in E.164 format, e.g. +441234123412. It's advisable to have an opt-in before sending this notification.

How does the conversation-based pricing work?

WhatsApp has switched from message-based pricing to a conversation-based pricing model. Businesses are now charged per conversation, which will include all the messages in that 24-hour messaging window. WhatsApp charges are based on the country of the user you are messaging to.
Starting June 1, every business-initiated conversation will be charged per the new WhatsApp conversation-based pricing model. Please note that the 1000 free conversations can only be used up for the user-initiated ones.
Please refer to the below table for the country-wise cost per conversation.

Country-wise cost per Conversation in USD

Cost per conversation in USD, effective June 1, 2023
Market PlaceCurrencyMarketingUtilityAuthenticationService
Saudi Arabia$US0.04060.02520.02260.0195
South Africa$US0.03790.020.0180.0168
United Arab Emirates$US0.0340.01980.01780.019
United Kingdom$US0.07050.03980.03580.0388
North America$US0.0250.0150.01350.0088
Rest of Africa$US0.02250.0160.01440.0363
Rest of Asia Pacific$US0.07320.04720.04250.0224
Rest of Central & Eastern Europe$US0.0860.06190.05570.025
Rest of Latin America$US0.0740.04940.04450.0423
Rest of Middle East$US0.03410.01980.01780.0218
Rest of Western Europe$US0.05920.0420.03780.0397
With the latest WhatsApp conversation-based pricing model changes, customers have to purchase IM credits to start using these business conversations. Each WABA (inclusive of all the numbers associated with that account) gets only 1000 free user-initiated conversations every month.

Steps to purchase credits

    1. Click the Setup icon ( ) in the top bar.
    2. Under Channels, click Instant Messaging.
    3. On the Instant Messaging page, click Buy Credits.
    4. Specify the number of credits you want to purchase. You will be charged 2 USD per credit, along with a value-added fee of 3% of the cost.
    5. Click Make Payment and make the payment.
Once paid, your credits will be topped up and will be reflected in the Available Credits section, and you can start sending messages.


When a business (our customer) purchases 2 IM credits - 2*$2 = $4
Customer has to pay - $4 + 3% VAT charges = $4 + $0.12 = $4.12
The first 1000 user-initiated conversations are free for every WABA (Powered by WhatsApp)

Conversation 1
Consider the business initiates a conversation with the customer who messaged 24 hours ago (responding to an expired 24-hour session conversation) from Mexico: The cost per marketing conversation is $0.0436, and the price per utility conversation is $0.0266.
So, the balance would be $4 - $0.0436 = $3.9564 (for sending a marketing template message), and in the case of a utility template message, it would be $4 - $0.0266 = $3.9734.

Conversation 2
Similarly, if the agent responds to a conversation that the customer initiated in Mexico, The cost per conversation is $0.0105.
So, the balance would be $3.9564 - $0.0105 = $3.9459 (If the agent responds to the marketing template message)

Hence, the customer's available credit balance is $3.9459 (charges are only deducted for the two conversations mentioned explicitly for a business-initiated conversation). Read about the CBP model.

Messaging Limits and Tier system

There are four tiers for a WhatsApp Business Account's phone number:
Tier 1: Send 1000 business-initiated conversations to individual customers over a rolling 24-hour period.
Tier 2: Send 10000 business-initiated conversations to individual customers over a rolling 24-hour period.
Tier 3: Send 100000 business-initiated conversations to individual customers over a rolling 24-hour period.
Tier 4: Send unlimited business-initiated conversations over a rolling 24-hour period.

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