All you need to know about Opt-ins and Opt-outs when texting your UK Customers

We’ve been in business since 2000 and we’ve seen SMS change and evolve from personal to business use, and with that, SMS has become a much more regulated space. SMS Regulatory bodies are working hard to maintain SMS as a trusted communications channel, one in which reputable brands are buying in to and sending anything from promotional messages or confirmation notifications to One Time PINs. More and more businesses are using SMS to deliver short, important, and time-sensitive messages to their customers, clients, stakeholders, and staff. 

While we know that the regulatory requirements or restrictions of SMS messaging may be quite frustrating and onerous, we believe it is a good thing; it means your messages will remain credible in the eyes of your customers. Not sold? Here are a few more reasons why restricting SMS traffic is good for your business.

The rules and restrictions around the sending of text messages to the UK are highly regulated. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) which provide guidelines to the regulations governing the unsolicited text marketing messaging in the UK for commercial, charity or political purposes. Following the rules set out in our SMS Best Practice Guide before sending any messages will cover the key requirements under the PECR, but we still recommend reading through the requirements and restrictions governing marketing communications on the ICO website.

Sending from a Sender ID

A Sender ID is a unique name or standard mobile number that shows in the “from” field of your text messages on your phone.

There are restrictions around what type of Sender ID you can have or use when sending messages to your UK contacts. These are:

  • No international numeric Sender IDs will be delivered to UK mobile numbers (You cannot have a numeric Sender ID starting with +1, or anything other than +44). 
  • You can still use a UK mobile number, or a virtual long number as your Sender ID.
  • Alpha Sender IDs will still be allowed. This includes A-Z, upper and lower case, a period (.), a dash (-), an underscore (_), a space and ampersand (&) and numbers (0-9). 
  • No "generic" Sender IDs (for example, Test or Info) are allowed. Only brand or campaign-related Sender IDs will be allowed.

If you would prefer that your contacts reply to your text messages, you’re also able to send standard repliable messages using our platform. Your text messages would then come from a +44 number, and any replies would come straight to your BulkSMS Inbox. When your contact or customer replies STOP to any of your messages, we’ll automatically suppress any messages that you try to send to that customer. If you keep trying to send to that mobile number, you will be charged for the messages you’re attempting to send, so be sure to remove any opted-out contacts as soon as possible. You can find out more about our automatic opt-out process on this page.

What else should you know?

For your messages to reach their destination successfully, you’ll need to make sure that the number is formatted correctly. This means including the country code. We are an international gateway and send messages worldwide. If you forget the country code or add it incorrectly, you might end up sending your messages to an unsuspecting contact in Puerto Rico, for example, or tripling the cost of your message send. The cost involved when sending text messages to your contacts depends on the length of the message you send, and the country you’re sending to. For more information on our pricing, you can visit our pricing page.

If you’d like to get started, register for a BulkSMS account or contact us for more information.

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