Requirements for UK short codes

To make your short code campaign compliant with Twilio’s requirements, per our Acceptable Use Policy, your company is required to comply with carrier compliance requirements, industry standards, and applicable law.

All short code advertisements, opt-in message flows, and HELP and STOP message content should meet certain criteria per industry standards for UK short codes.  It is your responsibility to ensure that the application that you use to manage your UK short code campaign is built to meet this criteria.  We recommend you review the industry standards here.  As a courtesy, below are some examples of a short code advertisement, opt-in message flow, and HELP and STOP messages.

Short Code Advertisement (also known as “Call to Action” or CTA) Guidelines

The wording of your short code advertisement (also known as a Call to Action, or CTA) will vary depending on the sign-up method, since it tells individuals  how to opt into a short code campaign. An SMS Keyword Call to Action, for example, might  look like this:

Text {Keyword} to ##### to sign up for alerts.

For all sign up methods, the following language must appear wherever the short code is advertised (on the web, in print, etc):

Message and data rates may apply. {Message frequency}. Text HELP to ##### for help. Text STOP to ##### to cancel. For terms: {URL to SMS terms of service}. For privacy: {URL to privacy policy}

Keep the following points in mind when writing your Call to Action:

    • Message frequency must be specific, for example: “1 message/day” or “4 messages/month.” If the message frequency will vary, it must be user-prompted (for example, “1 message/user request”).
    • The words “HELP” and “STOP” must appear in bold.

Opt-In Guidelines

Individuals can opt into a short code several ways: by sending a text message or opting in from a mobile app (Handset Opt-In); or by signing up on a web site, filling out a paper form, making a verbal agreement, or otherwise opting in without using a handset (Non-Handset Opt-in). In each case, the campaign’s opt-in message flow must meet the standards set by the law, wireless carriers, and industry standards.  As a courtesy, we’ve outlined them below.

Handset Opt-In

When a recipient of your campaign signs up from a mobile handset, a double opt-in process is advised, but not required. A compliant message flow should look like this:

Recipient: {Keyword}
Short code: Welcome to {Campaign Name} {Description} Alerts! Msg&data rates may apply.
{Message frequency} Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel.

Non-Handset Opt-In

When a recipient of your campaign initially signs up by any means other than from a mobile handset, a double opt-in process is required. The message flow might look like this:

(Recipient signs up without using mobile handset, and receives a text message from the short code asking to confirm opt-in)

Short code: Text YES to join {Campaign Name} {Description} Alerts. Msg&data rates may apply. {Message frequency} Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel.
Recipient: YES
Short code: Welcome to {Campaign Name} {Description} Alerts! Msg&data rates may apply.
{Message frequency} Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel.

Note: Rather than confirming opt-in with a text message keyword such as YES, recipients may confirm by entering a verification code online instead. Once the verification code has been entered, a compliant welcome message must be sent to the handset.

HELP Message Guidelines

A compliant response is required whenever recipients text the keyword HELP to your short code, regardless of whether the recipient is subscribed to the program. Example:

Recipient: HELP [or INFO]
Short Code: {Campaign Name} Alerts: Help at {source of help 1} or {source of help 2}. Msg&data rates may apply. {Message frequency}. Reply STOP to cancel.

STOP Message Guidelines

A compliant response is required whenever recipients text the keyword STOP to your short code, regardless of whether the recipient was subscribed to the program previously. Example:

Recipient: STOP [or END, QUIT, CANCEL, UNSUBSCRIBE, UNSUB]
Short code: You are unsubscribed from {Campaign Name} Alerts, no more msg will be sent. Reply HELP for help or {source of help 1}. Msg&data rates may apply.

Managing Opt-Out Requests

A key compliance requirement for text messaging campaigns is allowing recipients of your text messages to opt-out of receiving your text messages by replying STOP to the sender of the text message.

Unlike long codes, Twilio does not manage opt-out requests for short codes. This allows the short code application to independently manage subscription lists and requests from end-users to re-opt in.

STOP Filtering

When a short code is created, a database for managing opt-in and opt-out should be created for it. The short code program should ask the recipient to text STOP to opt-out of all further messages from the short code. If the recipient doesn’t want to opt-out of all messages, he or she can differentiate which campaign to unsubscribe from by adding an additional keyword of STOPALL. Examples below:

Recipient: STOP
Short code: To unsubscribe from {Campaign 1} Alerts, text 1; {Campaign 2} Alerts, text 2. Text STOPALL to unsubscribe from all messages.
Recipient: 1
Short code: You are unsubscribed from {Campaign 1}. No more messages will be sent. Reply HELP for help or {source of help}. Msg&data rates may apply.

      OR

Recipient: STOPALL
Short code: You are unsubscribed from all {Campaign Name} Alerts, no more messages. Reply HELP for help or {source of help}. Msg&data rates may apply.

These guidelines are based on industry standards for short code service. We recommend that your review the full set of carrier compliance standards here. You should expect that your short code campaign will be audited at some point by a carrier or industry organization for compliance with industry standards.   Nonetheless, please note that each carrier reserves the right to suspend short code service for any user at any time, so compliance with the above guidance is not a guarantee against suspension of service by a carrier.

In addition, there may be requirements for your UK short code campaign under applicable UK laws and regulations.  Which laws and regulations apply will depend on the particulars of your text messaging campaign.  You should consult with your legal counsel regarding any legal compliance requirements, as well as any question regarding how the industry standards apply to your text messaging campaign.

For other short code compliance guidelines, click here.

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