Getting started

As one of the most-used chat applications in the world, WhatsApp is the ideal chat channel to use for your business to see higher delivery, open and conversion rates. The WhatsApp Business solution offered by Clickatell is intended for medium and large businesses who want to use an API integration to engage with their customers on the WhatsApp channel. 

Note: this is not to be confused with the WhatsApp Business app.

As an authorized WhatsApp Business Solution Provider, we will assist you in applying for your own WhatsApp Business account and number, and show you how to integrate with the other powerful features available on the Clickatell platform. 

Once your WhatsApp channel is activated, it will also be available to use with the following Clickatell products:

Setting up your WhatsApp channel integration


To use WhatsApp as a communication channel, you will make use of Clickatell’s One API.

Note: If you are still be using our WhatsApp RESTful API. For more information on this API, see the relevant section in our Archive. Going forwards, all new WhatsApp integrations will be done via our One API (as discussed in this document). 


To activate the WhatsApp channel on your Clickatell account, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Register your Clickatell account & log in to portal

Sign up and create your free Clickatell account. Once you’ve verified your account, log in to the Clickatell portal. From the Products & Services tab, you can activate the channels and products that you want to utilize. The My Workspace tab provides access to all the channels and products you have activated on your account and allows you to configure and manage each. 


Activate WhatsApp as a channel on your account by clicking the WhatsApp card under Channels on the Products & Services tab. Click the ‘+Activate channel’ button to add WhatsApp as a channel under the My Workspace tab. 


Step 2: Apply for WhatsApp Business account

In order to configure the WhatsApp channel for your account, your business first has to be verified by WhatsApp themselves.

From the My Workspace tab, click the WhatsApp card and then+ Create New WhatsApp account.

As part of your application, WhatsApp requires the following information, which will play a vital role in whether WhatsApp approves your business account or not.

  • Company name and website URL
  • Facebook Business Manager ID 
  • Products and services offered
  • The industry your business operates in – Note: some industries are not supported in terms of the WhatsApp Commerce Policy.

Clicking ‘Next‘ submits your application to WhatsApp. You will receive an email with next steps – ensure you follow these steps since it impacts the speed of the approval process (which can take between 48 hours and two weeks).


Once your WhatsApp business account has been processed, you will be notified of the outcome. If declined, you will have to start the application process from scratch – you cannot reuse the application that was declined. If approved, the email sent to you will contain information about your next steps. 

Note: Clickatell will submit the application for you, but we do not have control over the approval of your application. We’ll do our best to make the process as easy and seamless as possible for you and will keep you updated throughout.

Step 3: Set up API and test phones for test profile

After submitting your application (Step 2), Clickatell immediately provides you with a temporary demo number to use for testing while your application is under review. There are several settings you can edit, but since this is a test profile and number you will not be able to edit the API’s name, number or setup type at this point.

Note: This demo integration is available on your account for 90 days, or for up to 3 days after your approved Business account has been activated. Once your WhatsApp application is approved, you will be able to select your own number.

To use WhatsApp as a communication channel, you will automatically use Clickatell’s One API


Upon clicking ‘Next’ your test API integration is created and a unique API key is displayed. This is the authorization key you need to interface with the Clickatell platform (also see One API Reference). The API key is prepopulated in our example scripts which you can copy and paste.

The demo integration is enabled in a Sandbox mode, which means that it can only send messages to test phone numbers that you have registered within your Clickatell Platform account. These numbers must also be WhatsApp enabled in order to receive the messages.

You can add up to three test phones by clicking ‘+ Add number‘ and following the prompts. 


Next, there is an optional tutorial you can follow to try out the template functionality. Click Done for Now to return to your WhatsApp management page.

The WhatsApp account you’ve just applied for will appear under ‘My Accounts‘ with a status of ‘Pending‘. This status will change to ‘Active’ once WhatsApp approves your application.

Step 4: Set up a business profile and purchase a subscription

Once approved by WhatsApp, your account’s status will change to ‘Active‘. You can now add one or more Business Profiles for your WhatsApp account. The Business Profile is what you will use to converse with your customers, and is similar to a ‘contact’ on your customer’s WhatsApp application.


The information you provide will be used as your WhatsApp Business profile that is visible to your customers: 

  • Business display name: This is the name that your customers see on the profile for your WhatsApp number. You can read more about display names here.
  • WhatsApp Number: You may use any number for your business, including landlines, mobile numbers, or toll-free numbers. You must, however, be able to receive an OTP or answer a verification phone call from WhatsApp on the number you provide. It should also be a number with no previous WhatsApp registrations associated with it.

Click ‘Submit‘.



Next, select a subscription package, payment term and payment method.

Note: Your business profile will remain in a ‘pending’ state until you’ve purchased a subscription. 

Once your business name and number are approved, you will be instructed to verify and activate your number. 


Step 5: Create custom templates (optional)

You can create custom HSM templates for an active WhatsApp account. See Templates (HSM) for more details. 

Step 6: Connect API

Once your number has been activated and verified, you can link it to an existing API or create and link a new API.

Navigate to My Workspace → WhatsApp, and select a Business Profile from the table. Click the ‘+Add API‘ button to connect an API to this profile.

You can either select one of your current APIs from the list displayed or you can choose to create a new API. 

Edit your profile and add a profile image, description and business address. A preview of your WhatsApp Business profile (i.e. what your customers will see in their WhatsApp contacts) appears on the right.

Step 7: Promote to production

Once you have an activated and verified WhatsApp number linked to an API, you can deploy your integration into production so that you can interact with your customers.

Navigate to My Workspace → API Integrations, and select the API you want to promote to production. Ensure that the correct API settings are selected and that your reply callbacks are set correctly. 

Note: the callbacks may arrive in a different order to which they were sent, but a timestamp is included with each

Select the ‘Production‘ radio button and click ‘Update changes‘. 

Your WhatsApp integration is now live.


Step 8: Using your API

To view and edit the details of your API, or move the API integration back into the Sandbox, navigate to My Workspace –> API Integrations and click on the API from the table. You can also view and renew the API Key and access the code library of your integration with an example. 

Note: You will only be able to send messages in your Production environment if you have added a payment method and topped up your balance. Where test messages are free, the cost for live messages is subtracted from your account balance as per the subscription selected.


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