Difference Between WhatsApp and SMS Text Messaging 

Sep 24, 2022

The popular narrative between WhatsApp and SMS Text Messaging is that “SMS is dying, WhatApp is taking over.” How true is this disposition? Is it an accurate measurement of these two communication systems? If you stick around long enough, you’ll find out. 

SMS text messaging has been around for so long, and many people have projected it as an archaic and obsolete communication system that should be abandoned. However, you can always learn something from a system that has remained relevant for so long. Although WhatsApp has warmed its way into the hearts of more than two billion users across the globe, there are still some lapses. 

Before you raise your eyebrows at me for saying that about your precious app which allows you to text, video call, and send audio recordings to your friends and loved ones, hear me out. 

Which Is Better: SMS or WhatsApp? 

WhatsApp and SMS Text Messaging differ in many ways. WhatsApp provides businesses and private users with the opportunity to communicate in a versatile manner. 


Have you ever wondered why banks send your financial details via SMS, not WhatsApp? SMS Text Messaging has proven to be a secure and reliable system you can trust over the years. Even WhatsApp relies on the secure nature of SMS Text messaging for you to authenticate your identity. 

If you’re looking for a safe channel to help you reach your employees or customers that involves cross-checking their identity, SMS Text Messaging wins on this. 

On the other hand, WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption that ensures that only you and your recipient can access the message being sent. This process is automatic. Although WhatsApp is encrypted, it can be hacked through various means, like socially engineered attacks, paid third-party apps, and others. 

Before you say “out with the old and in with the new” about WhatsApp and SMS Text Messaging, think about your security. 

Supported Message Types 

WhatsApp is not popular for nothing. It has evolved considerably since its inception to support different message types for a cheaper rate than SMS Text messaging. With WhatsApp, you can send messages to people without bothering about word count, allowing you to send as many as you want, unlike SMS. WhatsApp supports audio, videos, pictures, documents, and other message types, making it a personal favorite among many. 

SMS Text Messaging supports text; you need MMS to send any other message type. Also, you have to worry about the number of characters that your message will be using SMS Text Messaging because it costs more when the words are above 160 characters. However, SMS is still a method that is used for sending shipment details, confirming subscriptions, scheduling meetings, and confirming cinema ticket purchases.


If you’re seeking to reach a wider audience regardless of their age and preferences, SMS text messaging is the communication channel you should use. Every mobile phone receives an SMS but not every phone uses WhatsApp, which makes SMS Text messaging available to all. Also, you have to consider the financial capacity of others and the country in which you’re living before you choose WhatsApp. With SMS Text messaging, you don’t have to go through such hassle. 

Also, SMS text messages command quicker responses from people compared to WhatsApp. According to MobileSquared, more than 90 percent of people read a text within the first three minutes of receiving it. You can rely on SMS to help you get your message across quickly with the confidence that your customers will read it. There’s no way people can turn off SMS Text Messaging from their phones, but they can always uninstall WhatsApp since it’s only an application. 

Internet Usage

You need a good internet connection to send or receive messages through WhatsApp. According to Statista, 63% of the world population has access to an internet connection, while 91.08 percent own a mobile phone, according to bankmycell.com. Focusing only on WhatsApp will mean that you will miss out on about 30% of your customers that you can reach via SMS. 

You can easily manage and track messages via SMS because there’s no need for internet usage. Also, regardless of where your customers find themselves, you can always rest assured that your SMS will find its way to them. There are also leverage easy-to-use systems like Texting.io to organize your texts better and reach a larger audience swiftly. Using mass texting can help you retain your clients and even get better referrals while saving costs. 


Although SMS is considered more costly than WhatsApp messages, that’s not entirely true. If you combine the costs of getting a smartphone vs. the ones required to get a regular mobile phone, you’ll realize that WhatsApp messages are more expensive. Also, you must invest heavily in data if you want to send and receive messages through WhatsApp constantly. 

With SMS Text Messaging, you only have to pay for sending texts but not for receiving them, but that’s not the case with WhatsApp. However, downloading WhatsApp from Playstore or Applestore is entirely free. Determining the cheaper one between both communication channels depends on your phone type and access to data. 

Final Words 

Do you remember October 4, 2021? That was the day WhatsApp and other social media platforms went down for 6 hours. That means business owners relying on WhatsApp for text message marketing had no access to their customers unless they used SMS Text Messaging. The only reason SMS Text messaging will be ineffective is when a phone is switched off, which is a slim chance. 

Anyone with a phone and sim card can get SMS messages without incurring costs. This makes it an appealing option among users. The primary issue with SMS text messaging is that it has stuck around for too long, and people are beginning to forget how relevant it is even to their day-to-day runnings. 

However, one cannot dispute that WhatsApp offers more versatility than SMS because you can easily share stickers, emojis, and voice notes with your contacts without going through a long process. WhatsApp also has a user-friendly interface that endears it to the hearts of many. Despite its many advantages, SMS Text messaging beats it in this round.

Related reading: Social Media Marketing Vs SMS Marketing

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