Know Before You Text: Industries and Content Prohibited from Business Texting

Reaching leads and customers through SMS is incredibly effective. However, not all industries are allowed to use text messaging as a communication channel. Understanding the regulations and restrictions surrounding business texting is crucial for businesses that want to engage with their audience while staying compliant with Cellular Telephone Industries Association (CTIA) laws.

The following are prohibited industries/categories for SMS marketing or sales campaigns in the US and Canada as instituted by mobile carriers. These industries/categories are still forbidden if you are messaging with a Short Code, Toll-Free, or Long Code number. Failure to comply with these restrictions from the can result in severe penalties, including legal action and damage to your brand’s reputation. 

For more in-depth details, review the Twilio article “Forbidden Message Categories in the US and Canada (Short Code, Toll-Free, and Long Code)

If you aren’t sure if your business meets the carrier requirements, schedule a free consultation with one of Skipio’s Business Texting Experts. If your business doesn’t meet the carriers’ requirements, you won’t be able to move forward with Skipio or any other texting platform. 

High-Risk Financial Services

The financial sector is heavily regulated, particularly when it comes to high-risk financial services. Industries such as payday loans, cryptocurrency, and stock investing platforms fall into this category. Messages promoting short-term, high-interest loans or soliciting new loans are strictly prohibited. Additionally, businesses dealing with stocks, investing, or cryptocurrency are not allowed to use any texting services. 

Third-Party Lead Generation Services and Marketing

Any businesses involved in third-party lead generation services or marketing face strict restrictions. This includes companies buying, selling, or sharing consumer information, affiliate lending, affiliate marketing, and deceptive marketing practices. Even if the privacy policy states that consumer data will be shared or sold, you still are prohibited from texting. 

Debt Collection/Forgiveness

Debt collection, debt consolidation, debt reduction, and credit repair programs are off-limits for business texting. While first-party debt collection messaging may be permitted with direct consent from end-users, third-party debt collection is strictly forbidden. Additionally, businesses cannot promote debt consolidation or reduction programs even with first-party consent.

“Get Rich Quick” Schemes

Deceptive “get rich quick” schemes, including work-from-home programs, pyramid schemes, and multi-level marketing (MLM) ventures, are not allowed. However, legitimate employment opportunities can be communicated through texting if you follow compliant opt-in practices.

Illegal Substances/Articles

Industries dealing with illegal substances or articles such as fireworks, cannabis, CBD, Kratom, vapes/e-cigs, or drug paraphernalia products are strictly prohibited from using SMS messaging. This restriction applies regardless of the message’s content or whether a substance/product is considered legal at the federal or state level.

Prescription Drugs

Messages promoting drugs that require a prescription or offers for drugs that cannot be sold over-the-counter in the US or Canada are not allowed. This includes messaging from licensed professionals or businesses.


Gambling-related messages, including casino apps, betting/sports picks, and sweepstakes, are prohibited in the US and Canada, no matter the type of number. Sweepstakes may be permitted when using Short Code but will need to be reviewed. 

S.H.A.F.T. Use Cases and Electronic Smoking Devices

Industries related to sex, hate, alcohol, firearms, tobacco, and vape/e-cigarettes face restrictions. Alcohol traffic is allowed on Toll-Free, Short Code, and Long Code numbers with proper age gating procedures in the US. Messaging related to firearms, tobacco, vape, and e-cigarettes are not permitted even with age gating.

Review Your Use Case and Start Texting with Skipio

If you’re confident you meet the requirements, pick your plan and start the business vetting process! You’ll meet with a Skipio team member and then your business information gets submitted to the carriers. Then, you’ll get access to Skipio to start setting up your account. 

After the carriers review and approve your business’ information and SMS use case, we’ll notify you that you can now select your phone number and send text messages.