Why can’t I text a 5 digit short code?
Sometimes when you try to send a text to shortcode, the text unexpectedly fails to send.
You get something that looks similar to this phone screen below
What are 5 digit short codes?
Short codes are 5 digit numbers that organisations use as a simple and responsive way of allowing people to contact them by text.
The most common use is a response mechanic for advertising. You’ll have seen this many times before.
Here’s an example.
You’ve probably seen 5 digit short codes being used on TV, radio., poster and online.
They’re very common.
Short codes are also used for premium rate services. They're used a great deal for TV voting systems or text to win competitions.
With premium rate short codes you are charged a set amount to vote or enter the competition.
The amount you are charged ranges from 25 pence up to £10.
5 reasons why sending texts to short codes sometimes fail?
There are a few reasons why a text might fail to send, let’s cover them starting with the most common.
1. Phone is on a pay as you go tariff and has zero credit
Whenever you text a short code, it costs one text at the network’s standard rate.
In the UK, that’s usually between 8 and 12 pence.
Sending texts to short codes is not included in any free text bundle that might be part of a customer contract, so it will always cost 1 text at the standard rate.
If a phone is on a pay as you go tariff and there is no airtime credit on the phone, then you won’t be able to send a text to any short code.
On most UK networks, users will receive error code 28 that indicates that the phone does not have sufficient credis to send the text.
This is by the most common reason that texts to short codes fail.
2. Phone is on a business tariff with additional charge blocker
Many business phone contracts do not allow employees to text any premium rate service. They understandably don’t want employees to rack up huge bills on non-business services.
While short codes can be used for a premium rate service (which can cost up to £10 to use), almost all text response campaigns cost just 1 text at the standard rate.
Mobile network systems are unable to detect whether a shortcode is being used for a premium rate service or texts cost just one standard rate text.
The contracts ban the texting of all short codes even if they are standard rate.
3. Texting short code from outside the UK
You cannot text a UK 5 digit short code if you are outside the UK. They only work if your phone is directly connected to a UK network.
4. Texting from a non-UK number
Short codes do not operate on an international basis. They only work if you are texting from a UK phone.
5. Optional account setting, restricting texting to 5 digit short codes
Most phone contracts will allow the customer to block sending texts to premium rate services. If this setting has been activated, all texts to short codes will be barred.
To resolve this issue it’s simply a case of rummaging about in the phone’s setting and enabling premium rate services.