One of the reasons why WeChat is so widely adopted by companies in China is WeChat offers business accounts along with a very rich set of APIs making those accounts very powerful to help businesses closely connect with their WeChat customers. A WeChat business account can be a service account, a subscription account or an enterprise account. The WeChat enterprise account is for enabling internal collaborations so the purpose of using it is very different from that of the other two. Both a service account and a subscription account can be used to enable interactions between a business and its WeChat followers; however, they have many differences. Understanding what those differences are will help choose which one to sign up and use. Of course, a company can use both of them at the same time, but unless the company is very big with different BUs or product lines, using multiple accounts may confuse WeChat users when they are trying to figure out which one to follow. In this article, I’m going to list their major differences.
1. A service account can have up to 100K unique QR codes which can be either permanent or temporary (good for up to 30 days); while a subscription account only has one QR code that comes with the account, it cannot generate more. QR codes are very important for various purposes.
2. All payment related features, such as receiving payments and issuing red packs & coupons, are only supported by a service account; a subscription account does not have such capabilities.
3. After a WeChat user initiates an interaction, such as scanning a QR code or sending a message, with either a service account or a subscription account, an internal WeChat agent has 48 hours to send unlimited messages to the WeChat user. And such 48 hour window is extended whenever the WeChat user replies a message. After the 48 hour window, however, the WeChat agent can still reach out to the WeChat follower with the service account for up to 4 times per month (this consumes the monthly quota of 4 mass messages per WeChat follower), but the agent can no longer do that with the subscription account.
4. A subscription account does not have the ability to deliver template messages which can be notifications, reminders, etc. By being able to send template messages, a service account can help a business keep its WeChat customers informed when certain activities happen, such as flight status updates, financial transactions, etc. Template message is one of the most widely used WeChat features.
5. A service account can be used to manage marketing events which involve activities such as event registration, sending reminders, onsite check-in and collecting feedback through survey(s). A subscription account cannot do these things.
6. A subscription account does not support OAuth which is an authentication approach being used by many Charket features, such as Forms, Surveys, support to mini programs and SSO for 3rd party systems.
7. A subscription account can publish 1 mass message everyday versus 4 messages per month that a service account can do. This is probably the only advantage that a subscription account has over a service account. However, sending WeChat followers too many marketing messages can potentially drive them away, which no business wants to see.
Taking into consideration all these limitations with a subscription account, a company should have at least one service account. The use of a subscription account is optional or even not recommended in order to avoid the confusion that WeChat users will have when they see multiple accounts of a business and do not know exactly which one to follow. A subscription account can be upgraded to a service account, but a service account cannot be downgraded to a subscription account.