WhatsApp Kills Paid Subscriptions

Allison Howen
by Allison Howen 19 Jan, 2016

WhatsApp is killing off its paid subscription model.

The messaging platform made the announcement in a blog post this week, stating that the subscription approach hasn't worked well. As a result, the company is removing fees from different versions of its app over the next several weeks.

"For many years, we've asked some people to pay a fee for using WhatsApp after their first year. As we've grown, we've found that this approach hasn't worked well. 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," the company said in its announcement.

Just because the app will no longer charge, however, doesn't mean that it will start showing advertisements. In fact, WhatsApp notes that instead, the company will start testing tools that will enable users to leverage the app to communicate with businesses and oragnizations.

"That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. 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, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam."

Although WhatsApp didn't note when it will start testing these new business communication tools, it is worth noting that the app's parent company, Facebook, has been testing similar features on its Messenger app recently.