A short code in the United States is a phone number that is 5-6 digits in length, and used to send or receive text messages. Typically a short code is used by a business or organization, to facilitate text message marketing campaigns. To learn more about SMS short codes, click here.

If you’re not able to send text messages to a short code, or receive text messages from a short code, the first thing to check is if your wireless carrier supports short code messaging. For a list of wireless carriers that support short code messaging, we recommend checking out the list here.

If your wireless carrier does support short code messaging, we recommend that 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’ve confirmed that you’re entering the short code correctly into your mobile device, and the short code campaign is still active, we recommend you first text the word “HELP” to the short code. It’s common that an SMS marketing software provider may have the wrong wireless carrier stored for your mobile phone number. For the majority of SMS marketing software providers, you texting in “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 you receive a text message response, this means that you’re now able to receive short code messages from that specific short code.

If texting “HELP” to the short code doesn’t return a text message, then next thing you’re going to want to confirm is that your mobile device has short code text messaging activated. To test this, we recommend texting the word HELP to another short code. For additional short codes to test, see the directory here.

If you still don’t receive a text message, even though you’re using a different short code, this means that your wireless plan does support short code messaging. If this is the case, you’ll have to call your wireless phone provider to enable short code text messaging, as it’s currently disabled.

If you do receive a text message from another short code, this means there may be something wrong with the other short code you’re trying to interact with. In this case, we recommend you report the issue, so that it can be resolved by either the wireless carriers or the SMS provider. We recommend reporting short code issues to the following two organizations.

  1. Contact the Short Code Registry directly through the Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA). To do this, click here.
  2. Contact WMC Global, by emailing them at us.support@wmcglobal.com. WMC Global is tasked by the CSCA & CTIA to monitor and enforce short code best practices.

To assist these organizations, when you contact them, please 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, and the steps you’ve taken to try and resolve the issue.


Known Short Code Issues


If a mobile phone account on T-Mobile does not have short code text messaging turned on, then they 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 does not accept short code text messages.

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

If you’re interested in stopping short codes messages to your mobile phone, click here.