If you’ve wondered, “can you use toll-free numbers for texting,” the answer is yes. Toll-free texting is a fast, reliable, secure and cost-effective way for businesses to communicate with customers. People tend to associate “toll-free” with telephone calls, but consumers can text a toll-free number if it has been text enabled. See how it works.

For your customers, toll-free texting offers the convenience of having only one contact number for your business, making it easy for them to reach you whether they choose to talk or text. It also gives them the option to seamlessly switch from a text to a phone call if desired, which provides a better customer experience.

For businesses, toll-free texting offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Higher throughput than other SMS channels, with a single number able to send millions of messages
  • Toll-free numbers are inexpensive, easy to acquire, and can be set up quickly
  • Handset delivery receipts validate that recipients are receiving the messages sent

How is toll-free messaging different from 10DLC?

Toll-free messaging, also called toll-free SMS or toll-free texting, is just like texting from a local 10-digit phone number which is commonly known as 10DLC. One key difference between texting on toll-free numbers and 10DLC is that toll-free numbers are regulated differently and are not subject to some regulations that 10DLC requires. For more information on regulations that apply to 10DLC vs toll-free, see our 10DLC FAQ here.

Toll-free messaging involves sending and receiving texts from a number with an 800 prefix, but it can also include numbers beginning with 888, 877, 866, 855, 844 and 833. Toll-free texting is classified as application-to-person (A2P), which allows messages to be sent at a higher message-per-second (MPS) rate.

Reach more customers with toll-free texting

Most consumers expect business numbers to be text enabled. Our 2020 State of Texting report found that 43% of consumers had proactively texted a business and 1 in 3 texted a business without receiving a reply, suggesting they were under the assumption that the business was text enabled when it was not. Simply put, providing the option to text your business’s existing toll-free number allows you to reach more customers.

Toll-free numbers are ideal for A2P messaging

Some toll-free numbers stick in our heads because of recurring radio or TV ads. But in addition to being recognizable, toll-free numbers are ideal for A2P messaging. They also provide a branding opportunity. Toll-free numbers can be customized (855-ZIPWHIP), making them easy for customers to remember (even without a catchy jingle).

Text enabling a toll-free number also makes it easier to advertise your business. With toll-free SMS, one number does it all. Your marketing materials can simply state: Text or call 800-YOUR NUMBER.

Woman texting on a smartphone from her home.

There’s no need to buy a new toll-free phone number

Businesses can send and receive SMS messages from their existing toll-free number. Zipwhip can text enable toll-free numbers almost immediately, so customers can take part in two-way text conversations or receive notifications. Businesses can begin sending texts to consumers from their toll-free line after they’ve opted in.

SUGGESTED READING: Ways consumers can opt in to your text subscriber list

Send group texts to unlimited contacts with toll-free SMS

Another benefit of toll-free texting is businesses can send a message to multiple contacts at one time. That’s an ideal situation when you want to spread the word about promotions, send alerts during an emergency or provide billing reminders to reduce late payments. Text enabled toll-free numbers also support one-to-one conversations so businesses can respond directly to a text when someone replies to a group message.

Toll-free SMS with higher throughput

Text-enabled toll-free numbers have the high throughput businesses need for enterprise A2P messaging. With toll-free SMS, a business can begin sending messages right away, unlike short codes that can take months to acquire and are more expensive. Learn more about short codes.

Non-branded and branded toll-free numbers support all business use cases, from notifications and reminders to marketing and promotions and customer service and account management. And toll-free A2P can do it all at high-volume. Here are just some of the use cases supported by toll-free messaging.


  • Two-factor authentication
  • Fraud alerts

Reminders & Notifications

  • Reservation/appointment reminders
  • Order status/notifications
  • Dispatch notifications
  • Emergency facility closures
  • Prescription refill reminders

Account management

  • Account balance
  • Account changes
  • Billing alerts
  • Payment reminders

Customer service

  • Call or support centers
  • Customer onboarding
  • Customer self-service

Sales & Marketing

  • Schedule calls
  • Send meeting reminders
  • Promote sales and contests
  • Send marketing campaigns

Recruiting & Internal Communication

  • Send interview reminders
  • Request availability and documents
  • Reach employees in the field
  • Emergency communications

Messaging APIs support toll-free text messages

Developers can use Zipwhip’s APIs with text enabled toll-free phone numbers to send and receive text messages and integrate texting into their CRM or workflow app. Toll-free number texting supports long-form texts (up to 600 characters), high volume and all character sets including emojis. Zipwhip’s messaging APIs also include support for authentication, sending and receiving messages and storing and retrieving contacts.

Toll-free texting supports MMS (picture messaging)

Toll-free texting also supports MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), so businesses and customers can text images to move the conversation along faster. Toll-free MMS is especially useful when a business needs to see a document or other form of verification before the next step in the process can take place.

Screenshot image of a texting conversation about car insurance coverage.

Get more value out of your toll-free number with SMS

If you wonder why you should use toll-free messaging instead of local phone number messaging, a good reason is that with toll-free texting businesses can send high-volume A2P traffic and receive better deliverability information from the carriers. Toll-free messaging supports handset delivery receipts while local numbers receive information regarding whether the text was sent to the carrier or not.

Today, consumers expect a business’s number to be text-enabled, that includes toll-free numbers. Our State of Texting report found that 75% of consumers feel frustrated when they can’t respond to a text from a business in a conversational manner. And 67% of consumers said they would rather text with a business about appointments, reminders and scheduling than handle the matter by email or over the phone.

Make toll-free texting part of your omnichannel strategy

As the leading and most direct source of toll-free SMS texting in North America, Zipwhip is a true thought leader in the industry. Here are some key reasons to use text enabled toll-free numbers in your omnichannel communication strategy.

  • Higher throughput than other SMS channels, with a single number able to send millions of messages
  • Toll-free numbers are inexpensive, easy to acquire, and can be set up quickly
  • Handset delivery receipts validates that your recipients are receiving the messages you send
  • Provides instant, two-way communication between your brand and consumers
  • 800 numbers are quickly recognized and trusted by your customers
  • Customers can reach your business using the same number for texting or calling
  • Messages are encrypted on our network for safety

Learn more about toll-free text messaging with Zipwhip

As a toll-free SMS service provider, Zipwhip can text enable your existing 800 number so your business can send and receive texts on any computer or mobile device. Improve daily workflow and increase productivity with texting automation tools like Auto Replies, Scheduled Messages, Group Messaging, Templates and more.

Learn how easy it is to get started with toll-free business texting, contact us today!

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