What Is an SMS Long Code?

An SMS long code is a 10-digit phone number used to send and receive messages. Long codes are used for transactional messages, such as two-factor authentication and delivery package alerts, and not intended for the use of marketing messages. Due to the nature of long codes, message throughput is significantly slower compared to short code messaging. Long codes weren’t designed to handle mass text message marketing campaigns but instead send transactional messaging.

To illustrate an example of how long codes are typically used, below are two examples. DoorDash uses long codes for delivery updates and a local restaurant uses long codes to communicate order and rewards information.


What Is an SMS Short Code?

An SMS short code is a 5-6 digit phone number that is specifically used for marketing purposes. Short codes are registered with the wireless carries and thus have higher technical capabilities, such as a significantly faster message throughput. Due to this, brands and organizations choose short codes for mass SMS marketing campaigns and not transactional messaging, such as appointment reminders and delivery notifications.

Long codes are typically inexpensive, starting at around $1 per phone number, whereas short codes can start at around $500 to $1,000 per month. With a difference in technical capabilities, there’s a difference in price and usage situations. Long codes and short codes can both help brands and organizations achieve different goals.


What Is the US Short Code Directory Learning Center?

The US Short Code Directory Learning Center is a central source for SMS short code questions and answers. It contains a wide range of resources about short codes, compliance, tips, and more.

To understand the type of resources users can find, below are some frequently asked questions that the learning center has answered:

  • How do I find available short codes?
  • What are some good tips for selecting a good short code?
  • How much does an SMS short code cost?
  • What is the Common Short Code Administration (CTIA)?
  • What is a vanity short code?
  • What is a dedicated short code?

To find the answers to your SMS short code questions, visit the US Short Code Directory Learning Center here.