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The Business Owner’s Quick 10DLC Compliance Manual

Feeling lost in a sea of 10DLC compliance guidelines? This guide breaks down everything business owners need to know about local numbers.

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Getting a local phone number only takes a few minutes, and services like Google Voice will give you a free number for personal use.

But if you’re a business owner who wants to send text messages from a 10-digit local number — also known as a 10DLC number — there are rules and regulations you’ll need to follow. Not following them could lead to carrier filtering and added fees for each message you send. 

We’ll give you an overview of why these rules are necessary, how to register your 10DLC number, and guidelines for sending compliant messages.


Why 10DLC Compliance Is Good for the SMS Industry

Until a few years ago, wireless carriers didn’t allow businesses to text from local numbers. You could only text from shared short codes (5- or 6-digit numbers used by multiple organizations), but these numbers became a target for SMS spammers.

In 2019, wireless carriers began rolling out 10-digit local code (10DLC) services to allow businesses to send messages from approved local numbers through an SMS platform. Because 10DLC numbers are regulated by wireless carriers, consumers receive fewer spam messages. It’s a win-win.

At SimpleTexting, we welcomed the launch of 10DLC with open arms. It was the dawn of a new era, and that era is marked by less spam. 

Spam in text message marketing degrades consumers’ trust in SMS, and they may come to resent it (like robocalls or junk email). That would mean our customers’ SMS marketing campaigns would be less successful in the future. We’re committed to making sure that doesn’t happen.

How to Register Your 10DLC Number

To help prevent spammers from using 10DLC, all numbers must be registered with The Campaign Registry (TCR) — the organization that handles registration for wireless carriers. 

Getting your 10DLC number registered is essential if you want to send messages without carrier filtering or added fees

illustration of a 10DLC registration form

The Process

When you sign up for SimpleTexting, we handle the registration process for you. 

We’ll ask you for three pieces of information: your business’ contact and location information, your messaging use case, and an example of a message you would send.

1. Business Information

Business information includes:

  • Your company’s legal name
  • Your company name if it’s not the same as the legal name
  • The address under which your company was registered with your state. (Here’s a helpful list of all the private company state lookup databases.)
  • The legal form of the organization, such as publicly traded, private company, or charity/non-profit
  • Tax number/ID/EIN
  • Website URL
  • Stock symbol and stock exchange (if public)
  • Vertical or industry

2. Use Case

Your messaging use case is what you’ll be using your 10DLC number for. Most often, use cases fall under these categories:

  • 2FA: any authentication, verification, or one-time passcode
  • Account notifications: messages sent to contacts about their account
  • Customer care: messages related to customer support 
  • Delivery notifications: information about orders and deliveries
  • Fraud alert messaging: alerting customers to potential fraud 
  • Higher education: campaign sent by universities or colleges, can also include school districts and other education institutions
  • Marketing: any messaging that promotes your products or services
  • Polling and voting: non-political voting and surveys
  • Public service announcement: mass messaging to alert contacts to information that is of importance

There are two other categories, known as Special Use Cases, that have additional requirements and fees for registration. These include:

  • Charity: messages that come from a charity aimed at providing help and raising money for those in need. You must be a registered 501c3 charity, and this doesn’t include religious organizations.
  • Emergency services: notifications during emergency situations that support public safety. This use case is restricted to government and healthcare organizations and requires a special business review from T-Mobile.

3. Example Text Message

We’ll ask you for an example text message you plan to send. This gives TCR an idea of what your contacts can expect to receive from you. 

You can write an example message from scratch, or you can provide a message you’ve already sent to your contacts. If you’re stumped on an example text, check out our SMS templates for inspiration.

After we receive your business information, use case, and example text message, we send it to TCR to process your registration. Typically, it only takes a few minutes to be approved.

Text Messaging Rules and Guidelines

Industry organizations, mobile carriers, and U.S. governing bodies create rules and guidelines about what business texts should or shouldn’t include. This is to keep consumers safe and to prevent spammers and scammers from using the channel to harass or defraud people.

💡We have an entire guide dedicated to text messaging compliance and the groups who oversee and enforce it. 

No matter what number type you choose for SMS, it’s critical that you abide by the regulations and laws to prevent your messages from being blocked and to avoid fines.

Here’s an overview of the texting rules you’ll need to follow:

  • Get written consent from individuals before texting commercial messages to them with an SMS platform, even if you’ve already collected a customer’s information for another purpose. This is required by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
  • Never buy lists of phone numbers and add them as contacts.
  • Don’t send copyrighted or trademarked material that has not been licensed for your use.
  • After a contact opts in to your SMS list, include information in the confirmation message about whether the consumer is agreeing to a single-message response or a recurring-messages campaign.
  • For non-commercial, informational texts (such as those sent by or on behalf of tax-exempt non-profit organizations, political purposes, and other non-commercial purposes, like school closings) you still need prior express consent, but the consent does not necessarily need to be written.
  • You can only send messages pertaining to alcohol to age-verified contacts.
  • Don’t send confidential information, threats of violence, hate speech, or graphic violence.
contact form with an SMS compliance statement
Example of an opt-in contact form with a compliance statement 

Disclaimer: Please note that this advice is for informational purposes only and is neither intended as nor should be substituted for consultation with appropriate legal counsel and/or your organization’s regulatory compliance team.

Common 10DLC Compliance Questions

Who needs to register for 10DLC?

Businesses that send SMS to people in the U.S. from a 10-digit local number must register with The Campaign Registry.

What happens if I don’t register for 10DLC?

If you don’t register your 10DLC number, carriers may filter or block your messages and charge additional fees.

In the future, unregistered businesses using long codes to send messages to the U.S. may be banned altogether.

Can I register my 10DLC number directly with The Campaign Registry?

We don’t recommend registering your number directly with The Campaign Registry. If you do, you won’t be able to use your number with SimpleTexting. Our team handles the entire registration process for you.

How much does it cost to register a 10DLC number?

You’ll pay a $4 one-time registration fee, plus a $10 monthly fee to maintain your number with carriers. If you’re planning to send a large volume of messages, you’ll need to go through a vetting process, which carries a one-time fee of $40.

Do I have to get my number verified if I only send messages to contacts in Canada?

No. At the moment, Canadian mobile carriers don’t require registration for local numbers.

Have more questions about 10DLC compliance and registration? Click on the chat box in the bottom right corner to reach a member of our customer support team, or email us at [email protected].

Dani Henion
Dani Henion

Dani Henion is the content team lead at SimpleTexting and is continuously looking for ways to make text messaging strategies and tips more accessible to SMBs. When she's not writing or planning new SMS content, you'll find her decorating elaborate sugar cookies or thrifting in Atlanta.

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