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Debt Collection SMS: Should I Use 10 DLCs, Longcodes, or Shortcodes for Texting?

Debt Collection SMS

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“Consumer preference” is the buzzword (buzz phrase?) taking the debt collection industry by storm.

Communicating with consumers via their preferred channel is not just a nice touch anymore. You must know how your consumers prefer to communicate with you, and meet them there.

One channel that’s been getting a lot of attention recently is texting. Thanks to new regulations from the CFPB, using this channel is more attainable than ever.

Whether you are already using this channel, or kicking the tires on starting, you’re in the right place. Before you can text consumers to your heart’s content, you need to decide what kind of messaging service to use.

We’ll cover:

  • The different types of messaging services you can use with A2P texting 
    Features, benefits and deliverability outcomes of each
  • Our take on the best option for debt collection SMS

In our humble opinion, the power and efficacy of texting is only as good as the foundation you lay when you start. Let’s get you started on the right foot!

What messaging services can you use for debt collection SMS?

TL;DR: Here’s a quick breakdown of the 4 different types of messaging services.

debt collection SMS comparison


10DLC stands for “10 digit long code”. Also known as “commercial long codes”, a 10DLC number is a standard 10-digit phone number that supports high volume messaging.

The benefits of 10DLCs as compared to shortcodes is that each business has a dedicated number. This means that, unlike shortcodes, one bad apple won’t spoil the bunch.

Dedicated Shortcode

A dedicated short code is a 5 or 6-digit number used to send A2P text messages.

Short code numbers can be assigned randomly, or chosen as a “vanity number” (think vanity license plate) – for example, “123456.”

Right now, shortcode messaging offers the highest throughput and fastest send times, but at the highest price tag.

There are no daily volume caps on short code messaging.

Local Longcode

Normal, every-day 10 digit local phone numbers. They can only send at a rate of 1 message per second and only support sending of a few hundred messages per day. They are really only meant for 1 to 1, transactional messaging and phone calls.

Toll-Free Longcode

Standard toll-free phone numbers that support text messaging and phone calls. While they are an alternative for some businesses that cannot foot the bill for their own short code, they can only send at a rate of 3 messages per second and support sending of a few thousand texts per day.

What does Arbeit recommend for Debt Collection SMS?

We firmly believe that if your agency is kicking the tires on text messages as a channel, it’s important to really invest in the success of the channel from the start.

If you can afford to invest in a shortcode, it can be an effective way at building a reputable “brand” that your consumers will begin to recognize and engage with.

Because so many large brands use shortcodes to communicate, it’s become a trusted outlet and recognizable method for notifications for consumers who prefer texting to communicate.

If you prefer not to invest that much into a shortcode (it can definitely be pricey!) we recommend 10DLC. You can still build a reputation with your own dedicated number, and it comes at a fraction of the cost with decent throughput.

Our texting feature is coming soon, but while you wait, you can browse our existing suite of contact solutions here. We’re always happy to help you navigate the world of telecommunications!