Until now, WhatsApp asked some users to pay an annual fee for using the app after the first year of use – though as many of us have experienced, most users were not asked to pay after a year, and instead were given extensions each year. The company however believes that the approach of annual fee hasn’t worked successfully.
“Many WhatsApp users don’t have a debit or credit card number and they worried they’d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, we’ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service”, says the company in an official blog post.
While confirming plans to axe the annual subscription, the company also hinted that the app is now being used by “nearly a billion people around the world.” Unfortunately, WhatsApp has not officially revealed the exact number of users worldwide like it did before. To recall, the popular instant messaging app reached over 900 million monthly active users milestone back in September last year.
Apart from scrapping the annual fee, WhatsApp also revealed its upcoming plans where it wants people to connect with businesses and organisation directly. The messaging service plans to bring tools for the new target audience. WhatsApp believes people can communicate with the bank or any other utility services directly via the messaging app. “We all get these messages elsewhere today – through text messages and phone calls – so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp,” adds the company.
WhatsApp for now has not detailed the tools it will be testing for bringing businesses and organisation closer to its users but we can expect to hear more soon. The company alongside also stressed that removing annual fee will not mean WhatsApp will introduce third-party ads.