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Prohibited SMS Use Cases

Understanding which businesses cannot use SMS

Written by Nick Tabar
Updated over a week ago

As we know, SMS is one of the most valuable channels to connect with customers. With the rise in popularity of SMS as a channel, we're seeing a rise in spammers and businesses operating in unsupported categories as defined by the major wireless carriers. SMS traffic is highly regulated and as a result, there are categories of businesses using SMS that are not supported by wireless carriers.

Unsupported businesses primarily include age-restricted businesses or businesses without federal approval. If your business operates in one of the following categories, unfortunately, SMS may not be the right channel for you at this time. As defined by our acceptable use policy, your account will be subject to closure.

Forbidden Message Categories for SMS/MMS in USA/Canada




High-risk financial services

  • Payday loans

  • New loan soliciting

  • Short term high-interest loans

  • Third-party auto loans

  • Third-party mortgage loans

  • Student loans

  • Cryptocurrency

“Third-party” means originating from any party other than the one which will service the loan.

Third-party lead generation services

  • Companies that buy, sell or share consumer information.

Debt collection or forgiveness

  • Third-party debt collection

  • Debt consolidation

  • Debt reduction

  • Credit repair programs

“Third-party” means originating from any party other than the one who is owed the debt. For example, a hospital could send messages regarding bills for its own patients, assuming they provided opt-in to receive that message.

“Get rich quick” schemes

  • Work-from-home programs

  • Risk investment opportunities

  • Pyramid schemes

This is different from outreach about employment as a result of compliant opt-in practices, messages from brokerages to their members, investment news alerts, or other investment-related messages.

Illegal substances

  • Cannabis (United States)

  • CBD (United States)

  • Prescription drugs

Cannabis is federally illegal in the United States. Cannabis businesses will not be permitted to use SMS/MMS messaging in the US, regardless of message content.
CBD is federally legal, but is not legal in some US states, so US carriers do not permit messaging related to CBD.
Offers for drugs that cannot be sold over-the-counter in the US/Canada are forbidden.


  • Casino apps

  • Gambling websites

Gambling traffic is prohibited in the US and Canada on all number types (Toll-Free, Mobile Numbers).

"S.H.A.F.T." use cases

  • Sex

  • Hate

  • Alcohol

  • Firearms

  • Tobacco

While Tobacco traffic is prohibited Toll-Free, it is allowed on Mobile numbers, as long as proper age-gating procedures are in place.

Firearms and Alcohol traffic is allowed on Toll-Free, Mobile numbers, as long as proper age-gating procedures are in place.

Vaping-related traffic is prohibited

My use case is listed as forbidden. What can I do?

If your use case is listed above as forbidden for SMS and MMS messaging in the US, your messages may face blacklisting by the carriers and your account may be blocked altogether.

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