When a company first uses the Whatsapp business API, they are given a business account for their phone numbers.

In the contact view (details) of a phone number for a business account, the display name is displayed. The phone number would be displayed in all other views.

Customers on Whatsapp see a business account phone number like this.

What is an official business account (OBA)?

Instead of the phone number, an official business account has the display name and a green checkmark in the chat list, chat screens, chat groups, and contacts view. As a result, customers will be able to identify and recall the business's brand/display name more easily.

Whatsapp only grants an OBA to businesses after verifying that the account is owned by an authentic and well-known brand.

This is how a customer sees an official business account phone number on Whatsapp.

Types of business accounts on Whatsapp

Business Account

Official Business Account

By default, any account using the WhatsApp Business Platform or WhatsApp Business App is a business account.

WhatsApp verifies the authenticity of a brand for every account on the WhatsApp Business Platform.

An official business account has a green checkmark badge in its profile and chat thread headers. The name of the business is visible even if the user hasn't added the business to their address book. 

Who can apply for an Official Business Account?

Any business with a business account is eligible to request an official business account. However, we have seen a very small percentage of businesses get approval for an OBA. Well-known brands with a wide consumer base are more likely to get OBA request approval.

Eligibility  criteria to apply for an official business account

  • The phone number is functional on Whatsapp and is already a business account.

  • Make sure you have completed verification for your Facebook business manager account. 

  • The phone number has 2-step verification enabled.

  • The display name is approved and adheres to guidelines

How does META decide OBA approval?

Meta decided OBA approval on the basis of Notability.

Notability requires a business to represent a well-known, often searched brand or entity. This should not be taken as a signal of the authenticity of the business.

Notability, on the other hand, reflects substantial presence in online news articles. Notability is assessed based on an account’s presence in news articles from publications with sizable audiences. META does not consider paid or promotional content as sources for review, including business or app listings.

While the notability of the business is subjective, keep in mind that Whatsapp defines notability as: a well-known business that has a substantial presence in news articles from publications with sizable audiences”

How to apply for an OBA? 

Existing Exotel customers who have phone numbers operational on Whatsapp can raise a request by sending an email to hello@exotel.in

Sharing articles & news mentions of your business/ brand while raising the request will help us make a case for an OBA with Whatsapp.

What happens if my OBA request is rejected? 

A rejection is nothing to be concerned about, and it occurs frequently. When it comes to capabilities, both business accounts have the same functionality. An OBA rejection would have no effect on how you used the Whatsapp medium. There are currently no prescriptive or definitive guidelines for approving an OBA request.

As a general rule, in cases of rejection, businesses are advised to 

  • keep widening their customer base and usage on Whatsapp.

  • Increasing the coverage of their brand/business in the news and media.

Once an OBA request is rejected by META, brands have to wait for atleast 30 days before another request can be raised.