All WhatsApp Business API accounts rely on a valid phone number. This article discusses how to pick a phone number and add it to your WhatsApp business account.
Select Phone Number
Your business must use a valid phone number. Short codes are not allowed on the WhatsApp platform. The number must include a country and area code. Landline and cell phone numbers are acceptable phone numbers to use. Since a phone number is tied to a WhatsApp account, you must own this number. This phone number must be able to receive voice calls or SMS in order to complete registration. This phone number must also not have been used with the WhatsApp Business API before. To use a phone number already on WhatsApp, refer to the instructions on how to migrate a phone number below.
Note: Once a phone number is registered on the WhatsApp Business API, it cannot be used for WhatsApp Business or the WhatsApp consumer app. A phone number can be upgraded to the WhatsApp Business API, but not downgraded.
1-800 and Toll Free Numbers
Many businesses want to use phone numbers their customers already know such as their 1-800 or other toll free numbers. These type of numbers are usually behind an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, which a WhatsApp registration call cannot navigate. Instead, WhatsApp is able to share with you 1 to 2 phone numbers that the registration phone call will come from. You can use this information to create an allow list for those numbers so that you can redirect the registration call to an employee or mailbox where the registration code will be captured.
If creating an exception in your IVR tree is something that you can do, add the phone number to your WhatsApp business account and open a Direct Support ticket asking for the registration call phone numbers and stating the phone number you are trying to register in the ticket.
Add a Phone Number to Your WhatsApp Business Account
Once you have chosen your business's phone number(s), add them to your WhatsApp account to validate the phone number(s) and create the associated display name.
- Select your WhatsApp account in the Facebook Business Manager.
- Go to the Settings tab, and click on the WhatsApp Manager button.
- Under the Phone Numbers tab, click on the Add Phone Number button and enter the information in the Add Phone Number dialog.
See Connect Your Phone Number to Your WhatsApp Business Account for more information about using the Facebook Business Manager to add your phone number to your WhatsApp business account.
Migrate App Phone Number to API
You can use a phone number that is already registered in the Android, iPhone, or Business application versions of WhatsApp. However, in order to register this phone number on WhatsApp Business API, you need to follow the steps below to delete the WhatsApp account associated with that phone number.
Any incoming messages after deleting the WhatsApp account on your Android or iPhone are queued by the WhatsApp servers and delivered upon successful registration.
- In your Facebook Business Manager, add the phone number that is already registered in the Android, iPhone, or Business application versions of WhatsApp.
- Assign a display name to your phone number, following the display name guidelines. Submit it for review by the WhatsApp team. You will be notified when the display name is approved.
Note: You can't download a certificate if your WhatsApp account on your Android or iPhone is still active.
- Open the WhatsApp (or WhatsApp Business) application on your Android or iPhone.
- Navigate to the Settings page.
- Select Account.
- Select Delete my account
- Follow the steps to delete the WhatsApp account for that phone number. It may take up to 3 minutes for the disconnected number to become available. Continue to Step 8 after 3 minutes have passed.
- Go back to the Facebook Business Manager and refresh your browser window. A certificate will be available for download to proceed with the registration process.
When you register the number, you start receiving any incoming messages received after you deleted your WhatsApp account (step 6). Especifically, the queued messages are released once you request and confirm your registration code. There is no rate limit for the release of queued messages. After you migrate your number to the API, you will no longer be able to use the WhatsApp Business App with that number. If you do not perform a backup, you will also lose chat history.
Register Phone Number
To start using the WhatsApp Business API, you will need to register your phone number with a display name by following the Registration documentation. During the registration process, a 6-digit registration code will be sent to the phone number you want to register.
As mentioned in the previous section, the phone number you select must be able to receive SMS or voice calls directly. If your phone number is behind an IVR like 1-800 or other toll-free numbers, please refer to the section addressing them above. If you have a phone number already registered using a manual code before, it will continue to work normally.
By default, you can register 25 phone numbers per WhatsApp Business Account. If you have a specific reason and want to extend this limit, please contact direct support.