whatsapp.pngPopular real-time messaging app WhatsApp today announced that it will no longer be charging customers subscription fees after their first free year with the service. The company noted that the approach of giving users a free year with the app and then removing its features "hasn't worked well," since some customers didn't have credit or debit cards they could use to continue the service, potentially losing contact with friends and family after being blocked behind a paywall.

That's why we're happy to announce that WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees. 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. 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.

WhatsApp confirmed that the messaging service is switching to a custom monetization model that still won't center around third-party advertisements. Starting this year, the company will begin testing tools that let users interact with businesses that they care about, which "could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight."

Plans for the new non-subscription service will begin to rollout "over the next several weeks" to each platform that WhatsApp is available on. Users that have yet to download WhatsApp Messenger can do so from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Top Rated Comments

BSDanalyst Avatar
83 months ago
Because your personal data is worth more, join us for free! -WhatsApp
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LordQ Avatar
83 months ago
When something is free, you're not the client—you are the product.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Blujelly Avatar
83 months ago
I had "lifetime service" anyway :p
haha same! To be honest I use iMessage over Whatsapp anyways
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Freyqq Avatar
83 months ago
Makes sense. They were bought out by Facebook, and this is the kind of monetization that they're good at.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rudychidiac Avatar
83 months ago
I hope they also focus more on their web app and maybe allow messaging from iPad and Apple Watch...
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adamjackson Avatar
83 months ago
All this will do is teach our kids that apps and services should be free. It's happening with the Chromebook in schools. Hopefully they figure out that its their personal information that's being sold and that's worth much more than the dollar a month they'd have to pay to use the service.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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