WhatsApp drops annual fee and goes free forever

Chris Smith

Facebook’s WhatsApp instant messaging app for iPhone, Android and many other platforms including the web, is going free of charge, the company announced. That means you won’t have to pay the annual subscription fee of $1/year anymore.

DON’T MISS: Watch Kylo Ren go nuts in a hilarious SNL spoof

“Nearly a billion people around the world today rely on WhatsApp to stay in touch with their friends and family,” the company said in a blog post announcing its decision to subscription-free on all platforms. ”From a new dad in Indonesia sharing photos with his family to a student in Spain checking in with her friends back home to a doctor in Brazil keeping in touch with her patients, people rely on WhatsApp to be fast, simple and reliable.”

The company continued, “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 will become Facebook’s second free chat app after Facebook Messenger, which is nearly as popular among Internet users.

But the company plans to keep making money from its product. WhatsApp said it’ll start testing tools that allow businesses and third-parties to communicate with their customers, and that’s how WhatsApp will make money. “That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight,” WhatsApp said, revealing that such notifications can potentially replace standard SMS messages in the future.

Related stories

10 paid iPhone apps on sale for free today

Meet your new digital butler

New study shines light on one of the iPhone's biggest advantages over Android

More from BGR: iOS 9.3 may hint at Apple’s plans to shake up its iOS release strategy

This article was originally published on BGR.com