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Alexander Haque Co-Founder at Clerk Chat
Alexander Haque

Co-Founder at Clerk Chat

10DLC Compliance for Businesses

10DLC Compliance for Businesses

Your team, feeling excited about the product launch, sent an SMS campaign to your highest paying clients.

But - crickets. Which was really strange in comparison to your typical engagement rate from this cohort.

And then, upon investigation, you discovered your customers never saw the messages.


Were you texting from a different number? Or dealing with mobile number porting?


Instead, you wondered, what is 10DLC compliance?

Lucky for you - there was a simple fix - 10DLC Brand Registration.

10DLC Regulations for Text Messaging

10DLC is an acronym for 10-digit-long-code - a phone number businesses use to send text messages to customers.

Many often wonder what’s the difference when it comes to 10DLC vs. short codes. 10DLC is a modern alternative to short codes, which you’re also likely familiar with. Up until recently, many businesses used short codes (4-6 digit numbers) for campaigns and automations - some still do. But, customers are more likely to trust a local number with a recognizable area code, which is why it’s better to use a business phone line for texting.

SMS has been a popular channel for businesses, often for marketing, notifications, or customer service, and regulatory bodies - the CTIA is a common example - have started to implement 10DLC rules to make sure SMS remains a trusted and secure means of business communication.

Key Compliance Basics

While compliance is a broad term, it generally refers to the rules and laws that a business must follow when sending text messages to customers and clients. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), one of the most familiar regulations, was introduced in 1991. It restricts the use of telemarketing calls, automatic dialing systems, and similar.

A few 10DLC compliance best practices, suggested by the TCPA, include obtaining consent prior to contacting people, getting the proper type of consent, and to provide an automated way for those on the receiving end to easily opt out.

To comply with 10DLC regulations, businesses must register their brand and campaigns. For instance:

  • Provide details about why the company will send messages, how many, and to whom.
  • Be transparent when sending messages so the recipient knows where it originated.
  • Do not participate in 10DLC messaging that could be seen as spam, fraud, or misleading.
  • Make sure opt-in and opt-out policies are clearly identified somewhere.

Why is 10DLC Compliance Important?

It might seem confusing (it’s not if you do some research) or time-consuming (it depends on a case-by-case basis), but if your business relies on Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging, becoming 10DLC compliant does offer several benefits.

Reliability: Following 10DLC guidelines allows you to send messages more efficiently, with higher delivery rates, ensuring your communications reach your intended recipients promptly.

Deliverability: Make sure your messages actually reach the intended recipient rather than getting blocked by carriers.

Improved Legitimacy: Registering for 10DLC enhances your business’s credibility, making it appear more authentic to customers and strengthening the trust you build with your audience.

Viability: If it’s your hope to continue using SMS for the long-haul, being compliant will help convince regulators that it should remain a reliable communication channel for businesses.

Security: 10DLC registration assigns trust scores based on content and purpose of messaging.

Two Steps to Achieving 10DLC Compliance

  1. Register your brand. This can be done either directly through The Campaign Registry (TCR) or if you’re working with a texting software or service, like Clerk Chat, they often will assist. Once all details are submitted, you wait. Once Brand Identity Verification is complete, the business will either be verified, unverified, pending, or vetted-verified.
  2. Register your campaign. This can also be done through The Campaign Registry or with the assistance of your messaging provider. You’ll need to select a use-case, share a description, flow, and SMS templates (sample messages). Once the campaign is registered, your business will receive a Campaign ID.

Common Campaign Attributes

As part of the campaign registration process for A2P 10DLC, you’ll need to be able to answer questions about subscriber opt-in, opt-out, and help. Unless your campaign is Machine-to-Machine (M2M), you’ll need to be transparent about whether or not the campaign is a method for opt-in or opt-out.

If we, as humans, think about the messages we receive daily, it’s common to wonder whether or not we recall ever opting in and also knowing exactly how to opt-out. So, make sure to only send messages after your recipient has opted-in.

Examples of How to Opt-In Subscribers

  • Website forms
  • Clickable buttons
  • Automated keywords
  • In-person contact lists

Additionally, sometimes the consumer no longer wants to receive the messages. Respect the choice and make it easy for them. You never know. They might return one day.

Examples of How to Opt-Out Subscribers

  • Confirmations
  • Phone call
  • Keywords
  • Email
  • Text

Why Should I Prioritize 10DLC Registration?

It’s not surprising that regulations surrounding text messaging, in all industries, have evolved - they’re there to protect us, consumers, from spam and maintain the integrity of the messaging ecosystem.

But, of course, we’re also businesses. So, by association, we’re impacted in multiple ways.

Mobile carriers and regulatory bodies have implemented guidelines to ensure that SMS campaigns adhere to specific standards, aiming to create a seamless and trustworthy experience for end-users. The primary goal of these 10DLC regulations is to ensure that consumers only receive messages they genuinely want while shielding them from harmful practices by bad actors. This helps maintain text messaging as a clean and effective channel for business communications.

When businesses obtain 10DLC registration, they signal their commitment to responsible, compliant SMS marketing practices. This commitment extends to obtaining recipients’ consent before sending messages, ensuring relevant content, and providing an easy opt-out mechanism for those who no longer wish to receive messages. By following these best practices, businesses can build stronger relationships with their audience and enhance brand reputation.

Compliance for text messages (with SMS regulations and carrier requirements) is not only essential for maintaining trust but also for avoiding potentially severe penalties. Non-compliant messaging practices can result in hefty fines, legal actions, and, in some cases, being blacklisted by mobile carriers. Such consequences can severely impact a business’s reputation and hinder its ability to communicate effectively with its customers.

It’s just not worth it.

So, 10DLC registration acts as a shield against these penalties. It ensures that you’re aware of and abide by all relevant SMS guidelines, reducing the risk of inadvertently violating any rules. Staying up-to-date with the latest regulatory changes and fulfilling the registration requirements demonstrates a commitment to responsible messaging, safeguarding both your business and your customers from any adverse consequences.

Common Challenges During 10DLC Registration

Some of the most common questions we receive at Clerk Chat happen during the 10DLC compliance process.

Imagine this: you’ve been looking for an SMS enterprise solution (or maybe you’re on a lean team hoping for SMS for small business). You make your decision, select your plan, activate your number, and you’re ready to send your first campaign - only to realize you can’t send out a campaign until your brand is verified and you have a campaign ID.

That’s hurdle number one.

Hurdle number two: Understanding the difference between standard use cases and special use cases. Are you using 10DLC for customer care? 2FA? Higher Ed? Marketing? Those instances would be considered standard. Charities, emergency systems, and political messaging all fall under special use cases.

If you’re not sure, check the TCR descriptions or ask your messaging provider for assistance.

Hurdle number three: The carriers or The Campaign Registry needs more information. Maybe they’re looking for documents to prove your responses or maybe you had a typo and they needed clarification.

Hurdle number four: You’ll often find your brand registration is completed quickly, but it’s taking longer for your campaign approval.

However, you can plan for all of the above.

  • Get to know the guidelines and requirements prior to filling out questionnaires or forms.
  • When you’re ready to start the process, have everything (all the details!) easily accessible.
  • Be clear in your responses. If you’re not or don’t know how, then ask.
  • Reach out, either to the SMS provider or The Campaign Registry to get more information on your status.

You can both be aware and proactive about 10DLC compliance.

Clerk Chat Helps You Embrace SMS Communication

We are trying to make the 10DLC compliance process as easy as possible. And if you do your part (as the brand), the carriers will be able to do their part, by making sure your messages reach your customers. As a result, you’ll build stronger relationships knowing you have the proper permissions for your business texting.

Here are a few ways Clerk Chat sets you up for success:

  • Our user-friendly platform streamlines 10DLC registration and campaign management.
  • You have the option to enable your existing business line or activate a new one.
  • Bonus features like SMS integrations and AI agents make it easier to scale.

Ready to experience compliant, conversational messaging? Schedule a demo to explore the power of effective SMS communication for your business.

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