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Getting access to the WhatsApp API is attractive and beneficial to any business.
The process may appear straightforward, but the process that goes on behind the scenes of getting the official WhatsApp Business API is actually pretty technical and complex.
If you’re running a business and are interested in the WhatsApp API, it’s important to have an idea of the steps needed and what’s required of you.
And that’s what we’re here to do.
In this post, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive step-by-step guide on what really happens when setting up your WhatsApp Business API.
Of course, we’ll dial down on the technical jargon and try to explain things in layman terms and as simply as possible.
Let’s get to it.
Getting WhatsApp Business API Access: Step by Step
1. Get in Touch With a WhatsApp Service Provider
The first thing you need to do is find a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP).
These are third-party companies that can not only help with the process of creating a WhatsApp Business account for you and getting access to WhatsApp’s API but also facilitate any WhatsApp API Integrations as seamlessly as possible.
How long it takes to get a BSP to start working on getting you set up varies and will depend on each individual service provider.
Just so you have an idea, at WATI, it takes us about an hour after a client has completed the entire payment and sign-up process with us for us to start.
Note: While it is possible for brands to get access to the WhatsApp Business open API themselves, it is recommended that you go through BSPs as they are equipped with the knowledge and experience needed for a smoother approval process. Not to mention, BSPs have also been vetted and approved by WhatsApp themselves, so you can rest assured that their services are fully professional and reliable.
2. WhatsApp Service Provider Integrates Phone Number and Display Name
The second step involves establishing basic information about your business that will be used for your WhatsApp Business profile.
First, up is getting a WhatsApp Business phone number. This number should not already be used by another WhatsApp Business account – regardless of whether it’s the free app or the API.
You’ll also need to settle on a business display name, and this should be one that reflects the nature of your business (i.e. It cannot mislead customers about what your product or service is). For more, check out our article on the guidelines for choosing a display name.
Third, as everything will be managed via Facebook Business Manager, you will also need to have an account and an ID with them. Your business will need to be verified as this is how WhatsApp validates your status and identity as a business.
For more, here’s an article on the steps to get Facebook Business verification.
In short, these are what you will need:
- WhatsApp Business phone number
- A business display name
- Verified Facebook Business Manager ID
3. WhatsApp Service Provider Creates Message Templates
At the same time, your BSP will also take you through creating message templates and ensure you’re abiding by WhatsApp’s guidelines.
These messages typically relate to transactional messages like reminders, delivery information, payment notifications, and so on.
The reason for preparing these message templates before you even get WhatsApp API access approval is that they must be pre-approved by WhatsApp.
Another important note about these messages is that they can only be sent out to customers who have provided their consent to receiving messages from your business.
4. Approve “Messaging On Behalf Of” Request
Once all that is done, your BSP will send you a “messaging on behalf of” request that you will need to approve.
With this, you’re essentially telling WhatsApp that you’re authorizing your BSP to act on your behalf – like a Power of Attorney if you will.
You should receive a notification via Facebook Business Manager informing you that you need to approve the request.
5. WhatsApp API Access Request Sent and Reviewed
Once your message templates have been created and business information added to your WhatsApp business account, your BSP will review everything and send in your request for access to the WhatsApp API to Facebook.
In our experience, it usually takes around a week to get approval.
That said, it can take up to three weeks or longer, especially if there are red flags in your request or business information. This is why we highly recommend going through a WhatsApp BSP like WATI when applying for access to the WhatsApp API.
Note: As WhatsApp Service Providers, we can only assist you in the process of getting access to the WhatsApp API. We have no say nor control over the final decision as this does not lie within our purview.
6. Get Approved
Assuming everything is fine and dandy and Facebook’s satisfied, there should be no issues with getting approved.
Thanks to the expertise of BSPs, the chances of getting approved for access to the WhatsApp API via a BSP are much higher than if you were to do it yourself.
Once approved, your BSP should inform you immediately of the good news.
If you’re applying through WATI, our team will then proceed to download your name certificate, which comes with a code that you’ll need to validate your account and complete your registration. We’ll also help to connect the phone number.to your WhatsApp Business API account.
7. Send Your First Business Message via WhatsApp API And Enjoy
As soon as your BSP gets these finer details out of the way, you’re done!
You are now all set up to streamline your business’s communication via the world’s most popular chat app and grow your brand at the same time.
Having access to the WhatsApp API opens up a world of possibilities for your company’s marketing and communication strategy.
Here are a few articles we’ve put together that can give you an idea. Feel free to get to them now to have a better look at the potential of the WhatsApp API or after you’ve gotten set up.
If you have any questions regarding the WhatsApp API, our team will be happy to help you out. Simply drop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll get back to you in a jiffy.