How Much Does a Short Code Cost?
The cost of a short code varies by what type of short code you're looking to lease. If you're interested in leasing a dedicated short code, you can either lease a vanity short code for $1,000/month, or lease non-vanity short code for $500/month. The cost to using a shared short code can be significantly cheaper than a dedicated short code, but it does pose some risks which you can read about here.
Dedicated Short Code vs. Shared Short Code
When launching either an SMS or MMS marketing campaign, you'll need to first make the decision of whether you're going to use a dedicated short code, or a shared short code. This will have the most impact on how much a short code will cost you.
The first decision is whether you're going to use a shared short code, or dedicated short code. If you're going to use a shared short code, you'll be sharing that short code, and the cost of that short code with thousands of other businesses, so the cost is going to be only a few dollars. If you're going to use a dedicated short code, you'll be responsible for the full cost of the short code.
If you decide to use a dedicated short code, you'll then have to make a decision between a vanity short code, and non-vanity short code. A vanity short code is 5-6 digits, and they're specifically selected by a brand. Usually vanity short codes are selected over non-vanity short codes, because they're easier for consumers to remember. A vanity short code will cost $1,000/month, where a non-vanity short code will cost $500/month.
Lease vs. Buy
We're constantly asked the question here at the U.S. Short Code Directory if people can buy a short code, rather than lease a short code. The question is understandable, as a dedicated vanity short code is not cheap, as a lease will cost annually $12,000. Unfortunately here in the United States, the only option you have is to lease the short code, as there are no options to buy short codes. The Common Short Code Administration permits short code leases to be monthly, quarterly, biannual or annual.
Short Code Payment Methods
The Common Short Code Administration permits short code owners to pay for their short code leases with a credit card, electronic funds transfer (EFT), or even a check.
Additional Short Code Costs
It's important to mention that there are other costs associated with short codes that are not included in the vanity short code $1,000/month lease, or the non-vanity short code $500/month lease. The costs can include the following...
- Short Code Provisioning Fees: Many Application Providers or SMS aggregators charge a fee to submit your short code application to the wireless carriers, which starts the short code provisioning process. The short code provisioning process is required by the wireless carriers, before you're able to send and receive messages on your new short code.
- Short Code Hosting Fees: Many Application Providers or SMS aggregators charge a fee to host your short code on their system.
- SMS Messaging Fees: Just because you're leasing a short code, doesn't mean it's free to send and receiving SMS messages on that short code. To send and receive SMS messages on a short code, you'll have to pay a per SMS fee to either an SMS aggregator, or to your Application Provider.
- MMS Messaging Fees: Just because you're leasing a short code, doesn't mean it's free to send and receiving MMS messages on that short code. To send and receive MMS messages on a short code, you'll have to pay a per MMS fee to either an SMS aggregator, or to your Application Provider.
- Carrier Messaging Fees: Not only are you going to have to an SMS aggregator or Application provider a fee for every SMS and MMS message, you'll also have to pay certain wireless carriers their own messaging fees.
- Application Provider Fees: In addition to paying for messaging, you'll also most likely have to pay an Application Provider for the software to host your short code, and provide you with the software platform to use the short code to send and receive short code messages.