About Short Codes

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Basics of CSCs

What is a Common Short Code (CSC)?

If you use message texting, you are probably familiar with short codes or have heard ads prompting you to use them.

For example: "Text the number of your favorite American Idol contestant to 21523."

A short code is a number with fewer digits than a phone number to which a text message can be sent. The code might be supported by one wireless service provider or several. When most wireless service providers support a short code, the code is called a Common Short Code (CSC).

A CSC is the inter-carrier connection for your mobile application. All CSCs are 5 or 6 digits in length and can be either "random" or "select," A "select" code is a vanity code or a code that is easy to remember.

What kind of things can people do on their mobile phones using a CSC?

A CSC allows an individual to engage with a brand and interact with it by receiving and sending text messages to a company's mobile application. This can include voting, polling, games, contests, coupons, mobile payments, alerts, notifications, and a variety of other interactive applications. CSCs allow consumers to interact, communicate, stay informed, and become involved.

How are CSCs Assigned?

Applicants can lease a CSC from the Common Short Code Administration (CSCA) https://www.usshortcodes.com

How do I lease a Common Short Code?

First, set up a CSCA Registry account on https://www.usshortcodes.com. Then log in and complete a CSC lease application. Your application proceeds through a vetting and verification process. See the section CTIA Vetting for details.

Which browsers can I use to log in to the CSCA Registry?

The CSCA Registry Web Site has been tested using the following browsers:

  • Google Chrome v 55.0.2883.87
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer v 11
  • Mozilla Firefox v 50.1.0

Do CSCs work with all wireless service providers?

In most cases, every wireless service provider has the option of supporting each CSC and its associated use. The service provider alone decides whether or not to support a CSC.

How do I know if a short code works with my wireless service provider?

Mobile applications that include a short code will identify networks on which the application works. If you have more detailed questions, contact the company that is promoting the mobile application, or try to send the keyword "Help" to the CSC.

What is the difference between a "dedicated" CSC and a "shared" CSC?

  • A dedicated CSC is a CSC that is leased by one company for its sole use. Only the company that has leased the code can use the code for the term of the lease.
  • A shared CSC is shared by more than one company. This means it is used by multiple applications or services, which are designated by different keywords.

What are the benefits of a dedicated CSC?

A dedicated CSC provides the most secure situation for the brand, and for the consumers who use the code. It offers a reliable platform for your mobile campaigns since you are the sole owner and content provider with the code. Here are some key benefits:

  • You can use unlimited keywords.
  • You maintain control over routing inbound and outbound messages.
  • Since you own the code and all of the data captured, you can map directly into your existing database without having to interpret information from a different source.
  • You can further monetize your mobile efforts by offering advertising opportunities to other companies that complement your service.
  • There is no chance of an application provider mixing up your messages and responses or data with anyone else's, since the code is dedicated to your application.
  • All CSCs are monitored for compliance with established industry best practices. In some cases, carriers will deactivate codes for certain violations. If you have a dedicated CSC, you don't have to be concerned about possible monitoring violations by other companies, as you would if you were sharing the same CSC with them.

How exactly does CSC sharing work?

In CSC sharing, a mobile applications agency would apply for a single CSC and then support multiple customers with this one code. Examples of customers would be a newspaper brand, a consumer packaged goods brand, and a content company. The agency would separate these uses by employing keywords.

What is a keyword?

A keyword is the first "word" that is sent in a text message, for example "Go" or "Join."

Whom should I talk to in order to implement my CSC?

Four categories of companies work together to bring CSCs to wireless subscribers:

  • Content providers
  • Application providers
  • Connection aggregators (These firms mediate and provide the interconnections.)
  • Wireless service providers (or carriers)

Your company might be the content provider and/or the application provider, but you will probably have to work with one or more partners to get your code implemented. All companies interface with the CSC administrator. For an overview of the services the categories of companies provide, please refer to the Partners page https://www.usshortcodes.com/info/partners/overview.

What if someone has already leased the CSC I want?

A CSC is assigned to the first accepted applicant. So if someone is leasing a code you want, it is not available. But that could change - the code's lease might expire or the company leasing it might terminate the lease. You can ask to be notified when a particular CSC becomes available. When it does become available, the CSC will be leased again on a first-come, first-served basis.

What are the valid CSC number ranges?

A CSC must be either five digits or six digits. It cannot be fewer than five nor more than six.

  • Five-digit CSCs are within the range of 20000 to 99999.
  • Six-digit CSCs are within the range of 200000 to 999999.

Do I need a U.S. address in order to obtain a CSC?

No, you do not need to have a U.S. address, but you must provide a valid address.

The CSC application limits me to 20 CSCs. What if I want to apply for more than 20 CSCs?

You may request as many CSCs as you want. To request more than 20 CSCs, just fill out additional applications.

If my end-users experience technical problems, who do I contact?

For technical problems with the actual implementation and operation of your CSC program, contact the wireless carrier, content provider, connection aggregator, or application provider you are working with to implement your CSC program. You can also call the Registry for further advice regarding troubleshooting.

Will my CSC work internationally?

No. CSCs currently work only in the U.S. However, for Canada you may visit www.txt.ca/en.

Where can I lease CSCs?

CSC leases may be purchased at https://www.usshortcodes.com or through a mobile application provider.

Payment

How much does it cost to lease a Common Short Code?

You pay $500 per month to lease a "random" CSC and $1,000 per month for a "select" CSC. You must lease the CSC for a period of 3, 6, or 12 months, so your minimum cost would be $1,500. Fees are non-refundable. You must make the entire lease payment before the CSC is assigned to you and registered.

How can I pay for my CSC?

  • Credit card
  • Electronic funds transfer (EFT)
  • Check

You can also use any unapplied funds that you may have picked up through a credit or through overpayment for a prior lease. Monthly billing options may be available for qualified registrants.

Which credit cards do you accept?

We accept VISA, Master Card, DISCOVER, and American Express.

CTIA Vetting

Who is CTIA?

CTIA is a non-profit organization that represents the wireless industry. For details, see the CTIA site.

What is vetting?

Vetting is a process that CTIA uses to validate certain parts of CSC applications submitted to the CSCA Registry. The process confirms that the Content Provider displayed in the Registry represents a legitimate company and is identified correctly in the Registry. CTIA has commissioned WMC Global to vet all CSC leaseholders.

What is Partner Validation?

Partner Validation is the name of WMC Global's vetting product. Learn more about Partner Validation at here.

How does the vetting process work?

Following application submission, WMC Global vets all CSC leaseholders automatically.

What type of information will be reviewed during vetting?

  • Company name
  • Corporate registration
  • Legal history

How will if know if I'm approved?

You will not be notified when vetting occurs or when you are approved, but CTIA expects that the majority of SMS companies will complete the vetting process successfully.

Should you require proof of vetting for carrier onboarding or have concerns regarding your vetting status, please contact partnervalidation@wmcglobal.com. Include the short code, company name, and state of registration when you make such requests. You'll receive a reply from WMC Global within two business days.

What happens if I'm not approved?

In the rare case that you're denied approval, WMC Global will share its results with CTIA, and CTIA will contact you with further information or questions.

How often will vetting occur?

Your information will be reviewed annually.

Whom can I contact for more information?

For more information, please contact partnervalidation@wmcglobal.com.

Ordering a CSC Lease

What are the basic steps involved in leasing a CSC and putting it to use?

  1. Order your CSC.
  2. To see the steps involved in placing a CSC order, see Applying for a CSC.
  3. Define your Campaign(s) -- which essentially defines how you will use the code.
  4. Submit your Campaign.
  5. Vetting
  6. Update your Campaign(s) as information changes (ongoing).
  7. You will probably have to work with partners to complete all these steps before you can put your code to use. Refer to Whom should I talk to in order to implement my CSC?

How do I order my CSC lease ASAP so I can ensure we have a particular code?

Provide your basic account and billing information and pay for your lease. You do not secure the code lease until you pay for it.

How long does it take to get the lease?

If you pay right away by credit card, you secure the lease immediately. If you pay by check or ETF, it will take a few days after we receive the funds.

If I don't want to pay right away, how long do I have to pay for my lease?

You have 60 days from your invoice date to pay for the CSC. Failure to make payment will result in order cancellation and you may lose your CSC.

Can I start using the code right after I pay for it?

No. You must define and submit your campaign, and get the campaign approved before you can launch your CSC campaign with the carriers.

What is the difference between ordering/leasing a CSC and creating a campaign?

  • The CSC order is the process of leasing your code with CSCA.
  • Creating a campaign is the process of defining the details of your campaign for downstream review by the Mobile Carriers and Monitoring Team. For your convenience, the aggregator may be able to help with your CSCA campaign submission. Please consult your aggregator for more details.

How long does it take to get a campaign reviewed and approved?

The time for carrier review and approval depends on several factors and your aggregator is better able to advise you on the total time required. Also, provisioning times vary by carrier. Consult with your aggregator to better understand the provisioning timeframes and to review the goals of your campaign(s).

Service Desk Contact Information

Additional Information

Get a Short Code

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