Why Can’t I Receive SMS Short Code Messages?

A short code in the United States is a 5-6 digit phone number used to send or receive text messages. Typically businesses and organizations use short codes to facilitate text message marketing campaigns. Learn more about SMS short codes.

If you’re not able to send text messages to a short code or receive text messages from a short code, make sure your wireless carrier supports short code messaging. Check out this list of wireless carriers that support short code messaging.

If your wireless carrier does support short code messaging, we recommend you first double-check that you’re entering the correct short code number into your mobile device and that the short code campaign you’re trying to interact with is still active.

If you’re entering the short code correctly into your mobile device, and the short code campaign is still active, text the word “HELP” to the short code. It’s common for SMS marketing software providers to have the wrong wireless carrier stored for your mobile phone number. For most SMS marketing software providers, texting “HELP” to the short code will reset the wireless carrier associated with your mobile phone number. If you text “HELP” to the SMS short code and receive a text message response, you’re now able to receive short code messages from that short code.

If texting “HELP” to the short code doesn’t elicit a response, you’ll need to confirm that short code text messaging is activated on your mobile device. Confirm this by texting the word HELP to any other short code. Refer to this directory for additional short codes you can use to test.

If you still don’t receive a text message response, even though you’re using a different short code, this means that your wireless plan doesn’t support short code messaging. In this case, you’ll need to call your wireless phone provider to enable it.

If you do receive a text message response from another short code, this means there may be something wrong with the original short code you were trying to interact with. Report the issue so it can be resolved by either the wireless carriers or the SMS provider. You can report short code issues to the following organizations:

  1. Contact the Short Code Registry through the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA).
  2. Email the WMC Global at us.support@wmcglobal.com. WMC Global is tasked by the CSCA and CTIA to monitor and enforce short code best practices.

To assist these organizations, when you contact them, provide the following information:

  • The mobile phone number you’re using to interact with the short code.
  • The short code number you’re interacting with.
  • The short code issue you’re experiencing.
  • The steps you’ve taken to try and resolve the issue.


Known Short Code Issues


If your mobile phone account on T-Mobile doesn’t have short code text messaging enabled, you may receive one of the following errors when texting a short code.

  • Short code may have expired or short code texting may be blocked on your account. Msg 1051.
  • Service Access Denied

Problem: This means the mobile device doesn’t accept short code text messages.

Solution: To receive short code text messages on this device, you’ll have to call T-Mobile and ask them to activate short code text messaging on your mobile phone account.

Learn how to stop short codes messages to your mobile phone.


We hope this answered your SMS short code question. If you have any other questions, check out our Learning Center. We’ve spent a lot of time building this database of information for you and encourage you to take advantage of it.