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SMS Glossary

SMS Credits

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sms creditsSMS credits are the currency of SMS messaging. To send a message, a certain number of SMS credits is necessary. SMS providers negotiate pricing with the networks based on how much it costs per 160-character message. Those prices vary based on the destination country or network. In order to keep pricing clear for customers, most SMS providers price their services in terms of credits rather than messages.


For example, to send one 160-character message in the UK, the fastsms price is one credit. In this case one credit equals one message. If you want to send that same message to the US, it would cost two credits. This reflects the higher cost of delivering to networks in another country with different networks. So, the number of messages doesn’t always equal the number of credits, or vice versa.


Also, a single “message” can be longer than 160 characters. The fastsms system allows messages to be up to 456 characters. Even though a user types and sends what they perceive as a single message, it is actually broken into three messages to send across the network, which adds up to three SMS credits. The receiving handset then puts them all in order and displays them as one message again.


When researching SMS providers, it’s important to pay attention to how they do their pricing. Is it in terms of credits or messages? If it’s credits, how many does it cost per message to deliver to the destination you want to send to? These answers will give a good estimate of the cost to use the service.


Some providers also require minimum credit purchases per month. Others have expiration dates on their SMS credits so a user could potentially lose money if they aren’t aware of the limited time. Reputable SMS providers publish their prices, are willing to discuss their prices, never charge monthly fees and use credits that never expire.

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