Over the past few years scam messages about
WhatsApp ‘Gold’ have tried to trick users into installing malware on their phones. But while the paid-for premium version of WhatsApp has previously been fake news, that’s no longer the case.
As discovered by
WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is developing a Premium tier for which it will charge an as yet unknown subscription fee.
However, WhatsApp Premium isn’t for regular users. It’s designed for businesses that want to use WhatsApp to communicate with their customers.
Having a business presence on WhatsApp is a relatively recent thing: most WhatsApp users have yet to do anything other than chat with friends and family in the app. But it’s clear that WhatsApp wants to make more money from the platform which is why it is introducing more features to make it attractive to businesses.
Using beta versions of WhatsApp for mobile and desktop, WABetaInfo has found a new feature that allows businesses to choose a custom short link such as wa.me/businessname. This would make it easier for customers to start a chat, and it could help as it may be seen as more trustworthy than using other short link services.
The other feature available to Premium subscribers will be the ability to link and name up to 10 devices on the same account. As this information is only from screenshots, it’s not possible to say whether those could be multiple smartphones or not, but it certainly could be worth paying for.
WhatsApp’s Multi-device feature allows you to link up to four PCs, laptops and tablets but not extra phones.
Eventually, we hope it will be possible for anyone to use WhatsApp on two or more phones. Currently, it’s only
possible via a workaround.
Another feature that’s already available in certain countries is the ability to send money via WhatsApp. Again, we expect this to be rolled out globally at some point and assume it will be possible to pay for goods and services, not simply chat to businesses in the app. The company is already
trialling crypto payments, too.
In the UK, there aren’t many businesses yet using WhatsApp. That’s likely because, in part, many small business owners have no idea that they can download the WhatsApp Business app which is free to use.