CBSN

WhatsApp is now free for all users

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

WhatsApp announced that the popular messaging app would now be subscription-free and promised not to resort to third-party ads.

"We're happy to announce that WhatsApp will no longer charge subscription fees. 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," WhatsApp announced in a blog post. "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."

The messaging app used to charge a $1 subscription fee after the first year of free usage. While that might not sound like a lot, every little bit of savings helps.

WhatsApp, along with other messaging apps like WeChat and Viber has become popular as a an easy tool to keep in touch with friends. The startup was bought by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion, and currently totals 900 million users, CNET reports.

The app assured users that it will not resort to third-party advertising to replace subscription fees.

"Starting this year, we will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from," WhatsApp stated. "That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight. We all get these messages elsewhere today - through text messages and phone calls - so we want to test new tools to make this easier to do on WhatsApp, while still giving you an experience without third-party ads and spam."

WhatsApp plans to test these tools later this year, according to CNET.

  • Brian Mastroianni On Twitter»

    Brian Mastroianni covers science and technology for CBSNews.com