What are the requirements for UK short codes?

The following guidelines are based on carrier conditions of short code service and other industry standards. Your company is required to comply with these guidelines in the use of any Twilio-provided short code. Please note, each carrier reserves the right to suspend short code service for any user at any time.

UK wireless carriers require that all short code advertisements, opt-in message flows, and HELP and STOP message content meet certain criteria. Twilio recommends that your short code advertisements, opt-in message flows, and HELP and STOP messages follow the examples provided below in order to meet carriers’ compliance standards.

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 users how to opt into a short code campaign. An SMS Keyword Call to Action, for example, should 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

Users 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 certain compliance standards set by the wireless carriers. Be sure to follow these opt-in compliance guidelines carefully:

Handset Opt-In

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

End user: {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 user initially signs up by any means other than from a mobile handset, a double opt-in process is required. A compliant message flow should look like this:

(End user 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.
End user: 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, users 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 users text the keyword HELP to your short code, regardless of whether the user is subscribed to the program. Example:

End user: 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 users text the keyword STOP to your short code, regardless of whether the user was subscribed to the program previously. Example:

End user: 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

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 will need to be created for it. The short code program should ask the user to text STOP to opt-out of all further messages from the short code. If the end-user 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:

End user: STOP
Short code: To unsubscribe from {Campaign 1} Alerts, text 1; {Campaign 2} Alerts, text 2. Text STOPALL to unsubscribe from all messages.
End user: 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

End user: 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.

For other short code compliance guidelines, click here.