Facebook-owned instant messaging platform WhatsApp is finally calling off the annual subscription charge of 99 cents to attract more users by making it more friendly and easy to use.
“It really doesn’t work that well and hence we have deceided to call off the subscription fee,” WhatsApp founder Jan Koum said on Monday, speaking at the DLD conference in Munich. He also said that though 99 cents a year is not a lot of of money but access to credit cards was not same throughout the world which was turning to be a challenge for users.
“We just don’t want people to think at some point their communication to the world will be cut off,” he added.
The company said that it will stop charging the fees immediately but it will take the company some time to clean off the payment infrastructure from the app. Also, if you have already paid for the year, then there is no refund. WhatsApp and its services were always free in India.
Koum said that the company was exploring new ways to make money. In a blog post, the company said that “naturally, people might wonder how we plan to keep WhatsApp running without subscription fees and if today’s announcement means we’re introducing third-party ads. The answer is no.”
“Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from. 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.”
The founder said that businesses were making an effort to reach customers via WhatsApp and the company could make it easier for such businesses. He also said that WhatsApp was experminenting with newer approaches but admitted that it has not written a single line of code yet for the same.