Unofficial vs Official WhatsApp Business API: What’s the best for your business?

With a massive user base, WhatsApp is the most popular communication software in Hong Kong! It is a valuable tool for businesses to conveniently and effectively communicate with customers. In order to suit business objectives, it is necessary to enhance the WhatsApp Business API account’s extension features. However, you may find two kinds of WhatsApp Business API on the market: official WhatsApp Business API and unofficial third-party providers. To ensure that your WhatsApp API is secure, stable, and meets your business needs, eCommerce should choose your provider carefully.

This article will examine the differences between official and unofficial APIs and offer some recommendations for selecting a suitable provider. If you do not want to make any mistakes with your WhatsApp business account, read on!

What is the WhatsApp Business API? 

WhatsApp Business API is a WhatsApp application programming interface that is designed specifically for merchants. It was originally a set of API codes, and there is no direct user interface for consumers to utilize. Unlike the free WhatsApp Business, merchants cannot download the WhatsApp API directly from the App Store or Google Play. You must instead obtain the API from a third-party provider, like VIMOS, or develop it yourself.

VIMOS provides an easy-to-use application program interface in addition to assisting users in applying for the WhatsApp Business API. Moreover, VIMOS supports both PC and mobile versions. Without any programming or software development skills, merchants can easily enjoy the extended functionality of the WhatsApp Business API. 

Functionalities include:

  • Auto-replies
  • Tagging management
  • Multi-person login to improve work efficiency
  • Chatbot
  • Broadcast 

Further reading: 3 Benefits of WhatsApp Business to Boost Your eCommerce Sales

Fundamental Differences Between Official and Unofficial WhatsApp Business API 

In general, WhatsApp Business API suppliers have two categories. They are Meta’s officially recognized solution providers (Business Solution Providers) and unofficially recognized third-party API suppliers. While both provide comparable functionality, only a few recognize the unofficial API. WhatsApp may permanently block your account and you may lose all your customer information if your account exhibits unusual behavior. Before this, let first us distinguish between unofficial and official WhatsApp APIs.

Unofficial WhatsApp API

Meta (formerly Facebook) has restricted access to the WhatsApp Business API until May 2021, and only well-known brands can use it. As a result, many small and medium-sized businesses obtain unofficial APIs in order to use the API’s extended functions. They accomplish this by obtaining data from third-party suppliers.

Merchants, however, frequently create accounts using the official API. Before they can officially open an account, they must provide various supporting documents and go through complicated procedures. Therefore, many small businesses may opt for a third-party provider that can directly obtain the WhatsApp API. The reason primarily is for convenience, so that they do not have to go through multiple steps.

Official WhatsApp API

This is a Facebook-based interface for connecting to WhatsApp and optimizing its functionality. Connecting to the WhatsApp Business API and performing business authentication are both difficult procedures. Furthermore, the official WhatsApp API charges mostly higher than the unofficial API. But its “officially recognized” status has undeniable advantages, allowing merchants to avoid the risk of account closures.

Comparison of Unofficial WhatsApp API and Official WhatsApp Business API at a Glance

Now that you understand the fundamental differences between the unofficial and official WhatsApp Business APIs, how do they differ in other ways? Learn more information by reading the table below.

Unofficial WhatsApp APIOfficial WhatsApp API
Information SecurityMost will include transmission security measures.WhatsApp’s authorized suppliers have advanced programs in place for heightened security.
Account SecurityAccounts that violate official WhatsApp policies may be permanently blocked.Accounts will be blocked in extreme cases. Most of the time, it will simply reduce the account’s quality rating and the number of messages sent per day.
Application ProceduresAll types of merchants can register to useOnly accept legal institutions.
Recognition No official certificationHigh recognition; Merchants can apply for a green badge (green tick) for their accounts
Connection TimeOpen immediately after registrationRegistration number and business certification are required. Before opening an API account, Meta must gather and review relevant business information.
Applicable IndustriesMerchants in all industries can openCertain sectors may be restricted according to Meta’s policies. For example, medical-related industries cannot conduct medical consultation through the WhatsApp Business API. Likewise, political organizations need to apply to Meta to open an account.
Number of Device ConnectionsOnly one phone number can be connectedUp to 25 phone numbers can be connected but only one WhatsApp Business API platform can be used.
TOLLUsually, there is a fixed fee but no message usage limitWhatsApp will charge users based on their message consumption in addition to the fixed platform charges.
Support AreaAvailable in all regions of the worldSome countries are not recognized by Meta and cannot connect to the official API
Message ContentNo restrictions, you can also send instant messages after openingTemplate information must be submitted to Meta first. Messages can only be sent after review.
Number of MessagesThere is no message limit, but sending too many promotions may result in the official account being permanently blocked.The number of messages sent is determined by the quality rating of the account. Users can have a daily limit of 1000 conversations.
Message sentDepending on how long the account has been used; A maximum of 5 to 20 messages per minute are allowed.At least 10 messages can be sent per second. As the quality rating of the account increases, the number of messages that can be sent per second increases.
StabilityThe phone needs to have a stable internet connectionNo stable internet connection required

Additional resources for further reading:

How to Distinguish Between Unofficial and Official WhatsApp Business API

You can also find out if your API provider is an official WhatsApp partner by visiting the Meta website’s list of Business Solution Providers. These providers not only ensure WhatsApp’s network stability. They also allow merchants to submit template messages to Meta for approval.

How should merchants choose an API provider?

Potential Risks of Unofficial WhatsApp API

It is easier and less expensive for small businesses to apply for the unofficial WhatsApp API. For the time being, most smaller businesses do not require a personalized system to meet their customer service needs. In the short term, the unofficial API’s benefits and convenience can quickly meet the needs of small businesses.

Although unofficial APIs appear to have a lower audit threshold, they pose more risks. Your customer information will become increasingly important as your company grows. Moreover, if the merchant is using an unofficial Whatsapp API and Meta detects suspicious account behavior, the merchant is likely to lose the WhatsApp account. Sending a large number of broadcast messages, initiating conversations with non-contacts, and other suspicious activities are examples. Simultaneously, you will lose your hard-earned customer base and information.

If merchants want to keep in touch with their existing customers and retain their records, the official WhatsApp API is the best option. However, if you do not mind losing customer information and can always get a new phone number, an unofficial API may fit your business.

Further reading: WhatsApp Business Regulations on Broadcast Messages

Official WhatsApp API Benefits

True, the procedures for obtaining an official API are complex and stringent. Notwithstanding, it is critical for medium to large businesses to demonstrate the enterprise’s authenticity.

The official WhatsApp API also provides more stable and efficient services in terms of message volume and stability. In addition, this enables merchants to send promotional messages to a large number of users quickly. If your company and customer base are broadening, it is best to consider using the official API to prepare for future expansion.

whatsapp green tick

You may also notice that some business accounts have a green tick next to their name. The other term is “green badge” and it appears if the account is a verified business. Furthermore, WhatsApp verifies that the account is from a well-known and authentic brand, which greatly increases the profile’s credibility. If you want to apply for a green badge, keep in mind that only the official API can do so.

Further reading: WhatsApp Green Badge – Purpose, Benefits, Eligibility, and Application Process

Official WhatsApp API Restrictions

Although the official API is a reliable and secure platform, eCommerce should consider the following points before upgrading their WhatsApp account:

Message Restriction: Before sending messages to users for the first time, the official WhatsApp API account must send an approved template message. This is necessary if you do not want other users to be constantly interrupted by promotional messages. The review will take place once the template message is for evaluation, which takes a long time.

Relevant Industry Restrictions: WhatsApp does not officially recognize the establishment of partnerships with industries such as drugs and alcohol. Furthermore, WhatsApp may reject some financial consulting industries.

The process for opening a WhatsApp Business API account is complex. When opening an official business account, businesses must submit specific documents to ensure the business’s authenticity and complete specified verification procedures.

VIMOS offers you peace of mind and a dependable WhatsApp Business API service!

VIMOS is an official WhatsApp Business API partner. Through the official Vendor Link and development API, VIMOS provides small and medium-sized merchants with dependable and affordable WhatsApp extensions. After you register as a VIMOS user, our team will guide you through the application process for a WhatsApp Business API account. Furthermore, step-by-step instructions will be provided to ensure that you can successfully log in to the WhatsApp Business API!

What are the key features of VIMOS?

  • Chatbot
  • Keyword auto-replies
  • Team management and multi-person login
  • Customer labeling and classification
  • One-click broadcast remarketing
  • Personalized messages

By utilizing automated customer service marketing, VIMOS is dedicated to assisting small and medium-sized businesses with online growth. Businesses are likely to boost their overall profitability as a result of VIMOS’s technical expertise, customer service, and marketing support. Furthermore, our team has extensive marketing and software development experience, which is extremely valuable for brands looking to highlight themselves in the market!

Sign up for a 7-day free trial of VIMOS Customer Service Marketing Platform today and experience the power of WhatsApp Business API. Book a 15-minute business consultation with our dedicated team and receive additional discounts afterward!!

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