WhatsApp Verification: Overall improvement by adding WhatsApp to your verification workflow

Although SMS verification is incredibly useful, the cost of SMS varies by country, and not all users have reliable cellular coverage. We want to explore new verification channels where users may not prefer SMS.

WhatsApp is rapidly achieving ubiquity, with more than 2 billion users in 180 countries. We have decided to add WhatsApp verification to our Verify solution. This blog post will describe the overall improvement by adding WhatsApp to your verification workflow.

General benefits of using WhatsApp compared to SMS

Users usually prefer WhatsApp because they are free and can be accessed via WiFi, which means that you can receive WhatsApp messages where WiFi is available but the cellular signal is weak or non-existent, such as in remote areas or on airplanes. WhatsApp is usually faster than SMS and is encrypted end-to-end, thus providing additional security.

In addition to encryption, WhatsApp also provides more security advantages: each WhatsApp user will provide a unique phone number when creating an account. WhatsApp uses its own set of powerful fraud prevention tools to verify these phone numbers. This means that you outsource part of your identity authentication to WhatsApp and can directly replace SMS with WhatsApp verification.

Strong user adoption and user experience

The adoption rate is particularly high in countries with large WhatsApp usage such as Brazil, India, Indonesia and Germany. Users usually prefer WhatsApp to traditional SMS, because WhatsApp is free for users and can be accessed via WiFi.

Improved verification conversion rate
When we add WhatsApp, the conversion rate (the number of users who entered the correct OTP divided by the number of users who were sent an OTP) increased significantly. One reason for the improvement is that WhatsApp works on WiFi when there is no cellular connection which allows more people to receive a message in a timely manner.

Reduce fraud and improve security
WhatsApp is a modern, IP-based network that isn’t exposed to fraud that exploits SMS telecommunication network, such as SMS pumping fraud. We saw this in authy. The SMS conversion rate might drop significantly due to fraud, but the WhatsApp conversion rate will not change.

WhatsApp also provides end-to-end encryption. Operators can read SMS messages when they pass through the system, while WhatsApp cannot read the messages.

WhatsApp also provides robust user verification at sign up, which provides an additional layer of assurance and fraud prevention. Overall, WhatsApp bans about 2 million accounts on its platform each month. WhatsApp looks at various factors, including the user’s IP address and the country of origination for phone numbers used to sign up for the service, how old the account is, and whether that account started sending a lot of texts as soon as it was created. 75% of the 2 million accounts WhatsApp bans in a month are handled without human intervention or a report filed by a user. This makes it harder for users to bypass phone verification with burner phones, among other things.

Balance pricing and user experience

Not every user has a WhatsApp account. WhatsApp does not have an API to determine whether an account exists before sending a message. Fortunately, WhatsApp does not charge for failed message attempts to non-existent accounts, while SMS charges carrier fees for undelivered messages.

Pricing also varies by country for both SMS and WhatsApp. By adding WhatsApp as a verification channel, you can save money in some countries (such as India, Indonesia and Israel) and it is also worthwhile to win the user experience in countries where SMS is cheaper (such as the United States). Even when WhatsApp is more expensive, using it as a backup option to ensure OTP delivery can ultimately save you money and make your users happy.

Add WhatsApp to your verification workflow

Luckily you can send both SMS and WhatsApp OTPs seamlessly with YCloud Verify API and a few lines of code. You don’t even need an approved WhatsApp Business Account to get started, that’s included behind the scenes with the Verify API.

Stay tuned for more on this front from the YCloud Verify team (or get in touch for more information) and we can’t wait to see what you build and secure.

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