Global Coverage

North America Messaging Content Requirements

Any business running an SMS messaging program in the US or Canada must comply with certain industry guidelines and mobile operator policies. However, it can be challenging to stay compliant with guidelines and policies that are continually evolving. This page provides graphical descriptions of the most commonly used types of messages, such as opt-in, help, stop, and error messages.

Specifically, the graphical descriptions here show the wording you must use in mobile messages and on web pages for SMS messaging programs. The information here reflects current CTIA and carrier compliance requirements, and the CWTA Application Guidelines and Carrier Acceptance Test Plan requirements.

For more details about messaging requirements, refer to the Mobile Marketing Association's US Consumer Best Practices for Messaging.

US requirements

This section explains the content that's required in text messages and on web pages for US end users. The information here reflects current CTIA and carrier compliance requirements.

General guidelines

  • Legacy double opt-in methods (a.k.a. mobile device confirmation) remain acceptable for obtaining express written user consent.
  • Short code programs should promote customer care contact instructions and opt-out instructions at program opt-in and at regular intervals in content or services messages. This contennt should be provided at least once per month.
  • Help Menus are no longer required.
  • If a user is opted into two services on one short code, a standard HELP MT is required and should include the correct product or program name that matches both programs.
  • "Reply STOP to cancel" is no longer required in all content MTs.

Content for SMS message flows

SMS opt-in for a recurring message

Text required for SMS Opt-in Requirements

SMS & web opt-in for a single-item message

Text required for SMS and Web Opt-in

HELP messages for all message flows

Diagram showing mobile HELP message requirements

STOP messages for all message flows

Diagram showing mobile STOP message requirements

Content for website pages

Call-to-action for recurring message with keyword opt-in

Call to action diagram for recurring message with keyword opt-in

Call-to-action for recurring message with web opt-in

Call to action diagram for recurring message with web opt-in

Terms & conditions web page for a recurring message

Terms and conditions web page for a recurring message

Call-to-action for single-item message with keyword opt-in

Call to action diagram for single-item message with keyword opt-in

Call-to-action for single-item message with web opt-in

Call to action diagram for single-item message with web opt-in

Terms & conditions web page for a single-item message

Terms and conditions web page for single-item message

Canada requirements

This section explains the content that's required in text messages and on web pages for Canadian end users. The information here reflects current CWTA Application Guidelines and Carrier Acceptance Test Plan requirements.

General guidelines

  • Character Limit: 140
  • Required keywords: STOP, INFO, AIDE, ARRET and HELP
  • If French is supported:
  • The response to keywords AIDE and ARRET must be in French
  • All MTs must be translated to French translation
  • Standard Msg & Data Rates May Apply Disclosure
  • If there is no URL link located in a message, then ‘data’ does not have to be included in the message
  • Acceptable verbiage: ‘Std msg rates may apply’
  • If supporting URL lists mobile operators for any country, all supported Canadian operators must be listed
  • If service supports a separate T&Cs link, HELP and STOP details must be supported within T&Cs
  • Emergency/Urgent services are approved on a case-by-case basis and must include a timestamp

Content for opt-in and subscription reminder messages

SMS and web opt-in for a single-item message

Text required for Canadian SMS and Web Opt-in

SMS opt-in for a recurring message

The requirements noted here apply to both traditional and nontraditional recurring messages. For nontraditional messages such as flight notifications and appointment reminders, the end user might receive more than one MT even though the service does not recur monthly.

Text required for Canadian SMS Opt-in Requirements

Web opt-in for a recurring message

Text required for Canadian web opt-in for a recurring message

Monthly subscription reminder for a recurring message

Text required for a Canadian monthly subscription reminder

Content for HELP, STOP, and ERROR messages for all flows

In any SMS messaging program, you must use certain keywords to enable end users to get help, stop messages from being sent, or opt out of a program.

  • HELP, AIDE, or INFO
  • STOP or ARRET

These keywords must appear in all capital letters so that they're highly visible to the end user, and in Canada they must be available in both English and French unless the program is promoted solely in one language. In that case it's acceptable to use the keywords in only that one language.

HELP/AIDE/INFO message

Text required for Canadian HELP, AIDE, or INFO message

STOP message

For non-subscription programs, the STOP/ARRET MT is required to include that the "service is not a subscription".

Text required for Canadian STOP messages

Error message

Text required for Canadian error messages

Content for web pages

When you want end users to opt in to a program from a web page, your content must include a clear call to action, and you must enable the end user to initiate opt-in from the web page.

Call-to-action for single-item message with keyword opt-in

Call to action for Canadian single-item message with keyword opt-in

Call-to-action for single-item message with web opt-in

Call to action for single-item message with web opt-in