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WhatsApp for iPhone now charges annual fee

WhatsApp for the iPhone is now free to download, but slaps users with a yearly fee.

WhatsApp for the iPhone is now free -- to download. But instead of just paying once, if you're an iPhone owner you'll now pay a small fee every year to chat with your friends.

The popular cross-platform instant messaging app -- it lets you talk to any of your friends, even if you have different kinds of smart phone, unlike the once-popular BlackBerry Messenger -- used to cost a one-off payment of 59p to get it on your iPhone. As promised back in March, it's now a subscription-based app instead. But that's not going to break the bank: the annual fee is $0.99, which translates to a mere 65p.

Happily, if you already have the app you don't have to pay the subscription fee this year to keep messaging friends.

WhatsApp is already subscription-based on Android and other phones, so the move brings the iOS in line with the app for Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry phones.

The fact that individual messages can be sent to any phone, for free -- although they can count against your data allowance -- has made chat apps like WhatsApp and Viber more popular than texting. The smash hit WhatsApp alone has more than 250 million users sending up to 27 billion banter-tastic messages per day.

If you ask me, 65p per year is a small price to pay for cross-platform messaging without the distraction of adverts. How much are you willing to pay? What's your favourite way to chat? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or chat away on our Facebook page.