Different SMS Codes Explained

Different SMS Codes Explained

In today’s fast-paced world, text messaging (SMS) remains a vital communication tool. Beyond sending quick messages to friends and family, SMS is also used extensively by businesses to reach their customers.

One of the vital things to understand about text message marketing is short codes. This guide will delve into the world of SMS codes, explaining their different types, how they work, and how to interact with them safely.

Demystifying SMS Codes: Short Codes vs. Long Codes

There are two main categories of SMS codes used for business communication: short codes and long codes. Short codes are memorable five or six-digit numbers used by businesses to send mass text messages. They are often used for marketing campaigns, two-factor authentication, or voting in polls. Since they are easy to remember, short codes are a convenient way for businesses to connect with their audience and encourage engagement. For instance, you might receive a text with a short code asking you to confirm your subscription to a company’s text alerts.

Unlike short codes, long codes are ten-digit phone numbers used by businesses to send and receive text messages. They are often used for customer service inquiries, appointment reminders, or receiving delivery updates. Long codes can also be used for two-way communication, allowing customers to reply to the business directly. For example, you might receive a text from a long code with your upcoming dentist appointment details and the option to reply “CONFIRM” to schedule.

Understanding How SMS Codes Work

How these codes work can be broken down into a few key steps. A business initiates the communication by sending a text message containing the desired content and the specific short code or long code to a third-party SMS service provider. The SMS service provider acts as a middleman, receiving the message from the business and routing it to the appropriate mobile network based on the recipient’s phone number.

The mobile network then delivers the SMS message to the recipient’s phone, displaying the short code or long code as the sender instead of the business name. If the message is from a long code and allows replies, the user can respond to the text. The SMS service provider routes the reply back to the business for processing.

10DLC and How It Plays a Role

One important development in the world of SMS codes is the introduction of 10-digit long codes (10DLC). But what is 10DLC, exactly? Traditionally, long codes used for business messaging were not actual phone numbers but special routing codes. However, with the rise of spam and unwanted messages, mobile carriers have implemented stricter regulations. 10DLC is a system that assigns actual 10-digit phone numbers to businesses for sending SMS messages. This allows for better identification of the sender and can help reduce spam.

Implementing 10DLC for your business text message marketing requires careful planning and adherence to specific guidelines. First, you will need to register your brand and individual marketing campaigns with a central industry registry. This process involves providing details about your business and outlining how you plan to use text message communication. Be prepared to showcase clear opt-in procedures for customers and demonstrate a commitment to sending messages with value and relevance.

Remember, 10DLC prioritizes transparency and consumer protection, so ensure your messaging practices align with these principles. By following these steps and prioritizing a customer-centric approach, you can leverage 10DLC to establish a trusted text marketing channel and foster stronger customer engagement.

Interacting With SMS Codes Safely

While SMS codes offer a convenient way to communicate with businesses, it is important to be cautious when interacting with them. Before responding to a text with a code, be sure to verify the sender’s short code or long code. Legitimate businesses will usually identify themselves in the message content.

Unless you are certain about the sender’s legitimacy, avoid sharing sensitive personal information like passwords, credit card details, or Social Security numbers through SMS replies. Unfortunately, some scammers use SMS codes to trick people into revealing personal information or clicking on malicious links. Be wary of unsolicited texts requesting urgent action or financial details. If you receive a suspicious SMS code, it is best to report it to your mobile carrier or the business you suspect might be the sender.


SMS codes are a practical tool for businesses to connect with their customers. Understanding the different types of codes, how they work, and how to interact with them safely can empower you to navigate this communication channel effectively.

Written by Joshua Galyon

Joshua is a senior editor at Snooth, covering most anything of interest in the world of science and technology. Having written on everything from the science of space exploration to advances in gene therapy, he has a real soft spot for big, complicated pieces that make for excellent weekend reads.

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