BulkSMS Costs and Pricing

There are three factors to take into account when considering the cost of sending an SMS:

The cost per SMS in the SMS credit bundle purchased.

The country or countries the SMS messages are being sent to.

The route you use to send your SMS messages.

By registering and sending some (free) test messages you can verify exactly what the costs will be.

BulkSMS works on a prepaid basis. You can purchase credits online via Credit or Debit card, PayPal, or electronic funds transfer. Should you wish to pay via electronic funds transfer, our bank details will be available when you are logged in to your BulkSMS account and select Bank transfer.

Should you prefer to request a quotation to purchase before making payment, please email accounts@bulksms.com. When requesting a quotation, please include your username, email address and the number of credits you would like to purchase.

No. BulkSMS operates on a prepaid basis.

You simply purchase SMS credit bundles and use them as and when you need to. There is no monthly fee, no set up fee, and no contract fee involved when using our SMS service.

Any replies to your SMS message from a recipient are carried by the recipient. You do not pay for replies to the SMS messages you send out.

The reply will be at a standard SMS message cost on a local network in these countries, but for mobiles in other countries, the reply path will be via a number outside of those countries and network charges by the network may be higher than for a local reply SMS.

No. You can send as many, or as few, SMS messages as you like.

For security reasons we do however have a daily maximum limit set on all BulkSMS accounts. If you would like to increase your daily SMS quota you will need to contact our Support team.

Please be sure to tell us your username and what you would like to increase (or decrease) your daily quota to.

Yes we do.

For normal commercial based SMS accounts we have the “Tagline discount”. This discount cuts the cost of the SMS message by up to 25%. The characters available per each SMS is reduced by 17, leaving you with 144 characters to type your SMS message. The words “via: bulksms.com” are then appended to the SMS message.

For non-profit organisations, NGO’s, schools and religious organisations we offer special Community Messaging rates. This applies to South Africa and the United Kingdom only. Please see the pricing for our South African Community webpage or our United Kingdom Community webpage for more information.

No, they don't.

BulkSMS SMS credits do NOT expire. This means that your SMS credits will be available in your BulkSMS account for as long as you need them.

We provide invoices for all your SMS credit purchases.

These are available in the Commerce section of your online BulkSMS account platform. Any invoices related to other services will be emailed to you on initiation or renewal of those services. Please note that these invoices do not appear in the Commerce section of your online BulkSMS account.

You, as the BulkSMS account holder, pay for failed messages, that is; messages that were not delivered to a contact in your database.

There are two reasons for this:

• The networks charge us for all submissions regardless of the status.
• We expend more resources in handling failed messages as we re-try sending these messages to the network before reporting it as a failed message.

There is no cost to download or use the BulkSMS Text Messenger software. You only pay for the SMS messages you want to send and not for the software.

The BulkSMS iPhone App is free to download and free to use.

The only thing that BulkSMS customers pay for is the SMS credits purchased in order to send SMS messages.

Registration and Account Management

In order to send SMS messages from your BulkSMS account, you will need to select the product that best suits your needs, register, purchase SMS credits and upload or add your contacts to your chosen BulkSMS platform.

You can send SMS messages using the BulkSMS Text Messenger, our Web to SMS platform, our SMS API or the BulkSMS App.

We need your mobile number in order to send you an activation code. You will need this activation code in order to receive your 5 free SMS credits. These SMS credits are for testing purposes and will be allocated only once per mobile phone number.

We may also need to contact you for Support reasons, for example, if you forget your password and need an SMS reminder, or if you have set up SMS notifications for low credit warnings and if we need to follow up on complaints relating to your use of the service.

The activation code is used to redeem 5 free SMS credits on your BulkSMS account. These SMS credits are for testing purposes and will be allocated only once per mobile phone number.

We may also need to contact you for Support reasons, for example, if you forget your password and need an SMS reminder, or if you have set up SMS notifications for low credit warnings and if we need to follow up on complaints relating to your use of the service.

To claim your 5 free SMS credits, please do the following:

• Login to the BulkSMS Web platform using your new username and password,

• Click 'Claim them now',

• Enter the activation code exactly as it appears on your phone.

Please Note: If you use the BulkSMS Text Messenger desktop software you can also claim your free credits from the 'My Account' tab in the program. Simply click on the “Claim” icon, and enter the activation code.

If you do not receive your activation code, please email Support to request it.

Please include your username, mobile phone number and the website address of the BulkSMS website that you opened your account on.

One reason why the activation code was not delivered to your mobile phone could be that our service is not available in your area or supported via your local network. You can test whether we can connect to your network by sending a test SMS from our website homepage. See the detailed list of our regional and network coverage.

If you have lost your username and password, you can easily recover both by clicking “forgot password” on the login page and entering your email address. You will be asked whether you would like your password recovery message to be sent to your email address or mobile phone number.

For email recovery, you will need to click on the link in the email received and update your password.

For SMS recovery, you will simply need to enter the password recovery code that was sent to your mobile phone.

Please note that this will only work if you have registered with a valid email address.

Your password can be updated by logging in to the BulkSMS online platform and updating your BulkSMS user profile.

Yes, you can choose at which SMS credit level the notification will be sent and you can choose to receive the notification via email, SMS or both.

We’d be sorry to see you go. You can close your account with BulkSMS at any time.

You can email us on support@bulksms.com and let us know that you would like to close your account. Please include your BulkSMS username in your email and make sure that you send the email from the email address associated with your BulkSMS account.

When you ask us to close your account, you will effectively be terminating your use of the BulkSMS services. The closing of your account will trigger the deletion of your data. It should be noted that portions of your personal data may be retained in back-ups and archives for as long as is reasonably necessary to assist us in meeting our legal compliance obligations.

For information about the personal data associated with your account see our Privacy Policy and the BulkSMS Data Privacy Protection FAQs.

There are several easy options to choose from if you close an account with credit still available.

You can transfer your credits to another user by following this process.

You can have the credits refunded (if the purchase was less than 6 months ago).

Yes, we do.

Please email your personal data deletion request to our Privacy Officer at privacy@bulksms.com. More information on our Data Protection Policy can be found here.

Sending SMS messages

SMS messages sent via our SMS gateway are typically delivered to a mobile phone number within 15 seconds.

In some cases delivery may take up to 3 minutes depending on the network routing of SMS messages, the number of SMS messages sent in a batch, or other factors. For more information on delivery speed for large volumes, please email Support.

Yes we do. These are stored for 30 days only on the BulkSMS Web to SMS platform. If however, you are using the BulkSMS Text Messenger, you will be able to see your delivery report for as long as you keep the sent SMS message in your Sent items box.

Please note, that the Economy Route does not always provide status reports. The Standard and Premium routes do. All messages sent via these two routes will have a status report whether successfully delivered or not.

A delivery report will indicate the status of a sent message, for example: Delivered to Mobile, Delivered Upstream or Failed.

Delivered upstream means that the message you have sent has been submitted to a network but no status report has yet been received from the mobile network.

This means that we cannot ascertain why the mobile network has not yet been able to deliver the message to the mobile phone number and it could be any one of the following:

• Status reports can sometimes be delayed
• This particular network does not support status reports
• The mobile phone is switched off
• The recipients SMS message Inbox is full
• Poor network coverage
• Mobile phone is roaming
• Invalid mobile phone number

The status could change at a later stage from 'Delivered Upstream' to either 'Delivered To Mobile' or 'Failed'.

This status means that there is some content that the receiving network is unable to accept without prior registration with the receiving network.

Please contact Support with the mobile number you are sending to and the content that you would like to send to establish what the process is for registering content.

The BulkSMS system allows you to send an SMS message to a database of up to 30,000 contacts in one submission when using the BulkSMS API or Web to SMS platform and up to 20,000 contacts when using the BulkSMS Text Messenger. For high submission volumes, the BulkSMS API Gateway is recommended.

The daily quota is the number of SMS messages you can send out from your BulkSMS account in one day. The system is set at a default limit of 1,000 credits when you open your BulkSMS account. If your daily quota has been exceeded you will no longer be able to send SMS messages from your BulkSMS account for that one day. You will however be able to continue sending messages the following day.

Should you wish to increase your daily quota you can do so by sending an email request to our Support team.

The normal Sender ID of an SMS message sent via the BulkSMS gateway is a computer generated long number. It shows the SMS recipient who the SMS message is from, i.e. who is actually sending the SMS message. In personal SMS messages, the Sender ID would be the name of the sender as you have saved it in your mobile phone contact list.

This automated reference number can be replaced by text, for example, a company's name. Setting of the Sender ID can only be enabled after you have purchased SMS credits.

Sender ID requests are processed manually and we suggest you request a Sender ID change within office hours for a swift response. Sender ID can also be set via http request and email to SMS.

Please note that Sender ID is not available in South Africa or the United States of America due to the policy of the mobile network providers.

Alphanumeric means you can use any characters in these ranges:

• a-z
• A-Z and
• 0-9
• as well as the underscore: "_"

Yes, you can send SMS messages using Unicode for non-English characters (such as Arabic, Chinese or Cyrillic characters).

On the Compose Message page tick 'Send as Unicode'. This will however shorten character length for your message to about 70 characters.

Yes you can.

You can personalise your bulk SMS message sends by adding the recipient’s first name, surname or mobile number to the SMS text message that you send.  The BulkSMS Text Messenger allows you to create your own personalised token fields to insert into your SMS messages.


You can send multiple SMS messages with different content for each SMS message using the BulkSMS Text Messenger, the BulkSMS Web to SMS platform and our SMS API Gateway. Contact our Support team for a step by step guide using the BulkSMS product of your choice.

While a typical SMS message is only 160 characters long, we do allow you to send up to 6 SMS text messages in one send; that is, you can send a message of up to 918 characters. This is true for the BulkSMS Text Messenger, our Web to SMS platform, as well as our SMS API.

The message gets split into 6 parts when you send it, but when it arrives at the mobile phone it will appear as a single SMS message. The technical term for this process is concatenated SMS where a multi-part message with more than 160 characters is received as a single message on a mobile phone.

If you need even more space for your communications, you can try sending a Mobi-gram SMS message. This feature is available on the BulkSMS Text Messenger.

Yes you can Schedule your SMS messages to be sent at a later date and time for up to one year in the future.

Yes, you can cancel your scheduled SMS messages by logging in to the BulkSMS Web to SMS platform (if using the BulkSMS Text Messenger, click “Web Portal” under the “My Accounts” tab) and going to “Scheduled messages”. This will list all your upcoming scheduled SMS messages. Simply click on the SMS message you want to delete and click “Delete”.

Yes, third party applications can be SMS enabled using our SMS API solution or linking an external or SQL database to the BulkSMS Text Messenger. Please contact our Support team for further information.

A Mobi-gram message is where a unique URL is inserted into your SMS message. Using the BulkSMS Text Messenger, a customer can create a web page and the URL is automatically included in your SMS send. Each SMS message recipient will receive a unique URL allowing you to track which recipients have opened and seen the Mobi-gram message.

Contact Management

Section 8 of the BulkSMS terms and conditions state that BulkSMS will not intercept, monitor, copy or disclose any User messages or personal information, including the User’s phonebook.

This means that BulkSMS is not allowed to disclose the contacts or client lists saved to the BulkSMS platform.

Use concatenation to combine information in different cells in a spreadsheet.

This is used to either add leading numbers to mobile numbers, i.e. the country code or leading zero, or to make a personalized message for Multi-Message uploads. Click here for more information on spreadsheet concatenation.

As per SMS regulations, a message recipient has the right to opt-out from receiving SMS communication at any time.

When a message recipient opts out from a client’s SMS communications, the recipient’s mobile phone number is automatically blocked by our platform. This means that they will no longer receive further messages from the account the client was sending messages from. This number will appear in the client’s “Blocked List” on their BulkSMS account. When a message recipient has opted out from a client’s SMS communications, we, and our customer, must respect the opt-out instruction. This is to ensure that both parties adhere to SMS best practice.

A client cannot reactivate a blocked number that belongs to a message recipient who has opted out from an SMS campaign without first obtaining consent from the contact. This consent must be obtained in written form and via another channel (that is, not via SMS, but rather via a telephone call or website form). Alternatively, a number can be reactivated if the contact approaches the client and requests that their number be unblocked or gives consent to use their number through another campaign run by the client.

Receiving SMS messages

Yes, each message that is sent out using BulkSMS can be replied to.

Each sent message is allocated a unique identifying number. Should your customers wish to respond to the SMS you sent, this unique number will ensure that the customer's response is routed directly to your BulkSMS Inbox.

Please note that we do not offer replies or two way messaging in all countries. You can test replies from your mobile, alternatively, contact Support to find out whether or not replies are possible in your country.

No, you will not pay for replies to your SMS message.

Anyone who replies to that message will carry the cost of the reply SMS.

Yes, you can set this up by editing your Email to SMS settings on your BulkSMS account.

No, SMS responses cannot be forwarded to your mobile phone.

But you can receive them using the BulkSMS app, or by logging in to the BulkSMS Web platform.

Yes, your replies can be forwarded to a URL of your choice.

This can be done by:

• Logging in to your BulkSMS account.
• Click ‘Update your Profile’
• To set the URL for incoming SMS messages and/or replies, click “Set” next to “MO Relay URL” or to receive delivery status reports for sent SMS messages to a URL, click “Set” next to “Report Relay URL”
• Enter the URL you would like to use and click “Submit”.

If you would like to remove the URL, you can simply leave the field blank.

Using a sender ID is a non-repliable method of sending.

A Sender ID is a text or alphanumeric name that appears as the sender on a recipients mobile phone when an SMS is sent from your BulkSMS account. The only way a Sender ID could be repliable is if the Sender ID is set to a mobile number. The replies will then go to that particular mobile number.

Yes, we do offer an SMS Shortcode service in South Africa only.

WASPA "Do not Contact" List

The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) operates a Do Not Contact (DNC) List which pertains to South African consumers.

The purpose of this list is for consumers to request that SMS providers block their mobile numbers from receiving any direct marketing messages. The WASPA DNC List has a public interface and WASPA members can check lists of numbers against the DNC list using the WASPA Member Portal and/or the DNC API.

We help you to comply.

We have an automated system in place that checks the WASPA DNC List on a regular basis. This protects you from sending marketing (and other) messages to consumers on the WASPA DNC List. If you are not sending marketing messages, and would like your BulkSMS account to be whitelisted, please follow these steps:

• Log in to the BulkSMS Web App.
• Click on ‘Settings’ on the left-hand navigation.
• Select ‘Message Settings’
• This is where you’ll see an explanation of the WASPA DNC List. Tick the box if applicable.

If you are still using our old Web App, you will need to swap over to the new app in order to complete the above process. There is a button on the home screen of the app that says “Try our New App”. Click on this button and you can access our updated platform.

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