WhatsApp is dropping its subscription fees to access the popular messaging service. WhatsApp introduced the fees a few years ago, forcing new users to pay an annual 99 cents subscription after the first year. â€œAs weâ€™ve grown, weâ€™ve found that this approach hasnâ€™t worked well,â€ admits WhatsApp in aÂ company blog post today.
â€œMany WhatsApp users donâ€™t have a debit or credit card number and they worried theyâ€™d lose access to their friends and family after their first year. So over the next several weeks, weâ€™ll remove fees from the different versions of our app and WhatsApp will no longer charge you for our service.â€
NO REFUNDS IF YOUâ€™VE
ALREADY PAID THE FEE
If youâ€™ve been using WhatsApp for the six years it has been available then youâ€™ve probably never experienced the subscription fees. Most original users were granted a free lifetime service, but in recent years the company introduced its subscription to new users.Â Recode reports that if youâ€™ve already paid the 99 cents for the year then there wonâ€™t be a refund, but subscription fees will cease immediately.
WhatsApp now has nearly 1 billion users, so the free timing removes the barrier for millions more to join the messaging service. The Facebook-owned service plans appears to be planning to generate revenue through services to businesses. â€œWe will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from.â€ That means you might be able to send WhatsApp messages to your bank or airlines in the future. WhatsApp isnâ€™t planning to enable third-party ads within the service, and itâ€™s sticking to its original principles. The founders of WhatsApp were strongly opposed to ads,Â noting back in 2012 that â€œwhen advertising is involved you the user are the product.â€