Bandwidth toll-free verification handbook  

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Alyssia Summers

Updated


Please note that the Toll-Free Industry verifier is currently experiencing a higher-than-normal volume of verification requests. Current verification applications may take between 3-4 weeks to return approval status. Bandwidth is working with this industry aggregator to process requests as quickly as possible.

 

This article serves as a guide to ensure Bandwidth has the preliminary information needed to process your toll-free (TF) verification form. The toll-free verification form can be found here. If you're looking for information on how to complete the bulk toll-free verification form, check out our bulk toll-free verification guide.


Effective October 1, 2022, the following daily, weekly, and monthly messaging thresholds are being implemented industry-wide for messaging sent over unverified Toll-Free numbers to long codes in the U.S:

Daily Limit: 2,000 messages per day (resets at 12:00 am PT daily) 
Weekly Limit: 12,000 messages per week (resets Sunday 12:00 am PT)
Monthly Limit: 25,000 messages per month (Month refers specifically to a calendar month)

All messages, regardless of being successful or not, will count toward the daily, weekly, and monthly volumes.

For example, if a customer sends 25k messages on the first of the month, the first 2k messages will be allowed to send, and the remaining 23k messages will be blocked. All 25k messages will count toward the weekly and monthly totals.

Also beginning October 1, verification is required for all Toll-Free numbers when sending traffic to Canada. Unverified traffic destined to Canadian TNs will be blocked - the limits mentioned above only apply to traffic destined to U.S. TNs. Once a TFN is in a pending state, these blocks no longer apply.

What is toll-free verification? 

The toll-free verification process qualifies the messaging traffic to be tagged as verified with our downstream peers (not directly with mobile operators). The approved tag reduces the number of false-positive blocks and helps increase the message deliverability on a single toll-free number (TFN). 

Verification is not whitelisting, so approval doesn’t guarantee that the customer won’t experience any blocking. However, as long as the sent traffic aligns with the verification application, this allows us to work with our peers more swiftly in order to share the campaign details with the mobile operator and ask for the blocking to be removed.

Toll-free verification timelines

Once the Bandwidth Campaign Team receives the form, it can take up to a week to submit it with the TF aggregator. Upon submission, it can take up to 3-4 weeks for a toll-free number request to receive a response from our peer confirming approval, denial, or asking clarifying questions.

Unlike 10DLC, where most campaigns receive an immediate and automated rating, toll-free verification requests are reviewed manually by our peer. For batch/bulk submissions, turnaround times may vary.

There are several factors that may cause a delay in processing:

  • High volume of incoming requests
  • Incomplete or unclear fields
  • Multiple submissions
  • Multiple toll-free numbers on a request

Please make sure to submit detailed, high-quality forms. It’ll help make the process easier to review and approve!

Submitting a toll-free verification brief

Opt-in

  • Make sure the opt-in flow is thoroughly detailed. 
  • Consumer consent should be collected by the direct (first) party sending the messages. 
  • If Website opt-in: Screenshots of the web form where the client adds a number and agrees to receive messaging.
  • Website Posting (Support): Where is the number advertised and where does the customer find the number to text in.
  • If a keyword or QR Code Opt-in: Where does the customer find the keyword in order to opt-in to these messages? Please provide this material (photos or screenshots) for verification.
  • If Voice/IVR opt-in: In this case please provide a screenshot record of opt-in via voice in the client's database/ CRM. (IE, a check box on their CRM saying that the customer opted in and the date)
  • 2FA/OTP: Please provide a screenshot process to receive the initial text
  • Paper form (Customer/ Employee): please upload a photo of the form

Note: Consent cannot be acquired from a third party. Third-party opt-in is not supported and is ineligible for verification.

Use one recognizable number

Each message sender (business/entity/organization) should be utilized only one primary sending number. Using a single number for messaging is not only a best practice but also a better user experience overall for the consumer!

In the case of a business/entity/organization with multiple locations or franchises, each location or franchise should have its own number. There is to be one number per message sender. Shared numbers (numbers used by multiple businesses) are disallowed and ineligible for verification. 

We understand there are use cases that require more than one sending number. For use cases that have multiple sending numbers, you'll be asked to upload an excel file with the business name associated with each TFN. For bulk/batch submissions, turnaround times will vary.

Sharing of end-user information

The sharing and selling of end-user information with third parties for marketing purposes violates both Bandwidth's policy and our peers’ messaging policies and is therefore ineligible for verification.

Ineligible use cases

High-Risk Financial Services Get Rich Quick Schemes Debt Forgiveness Illegal Substances/ Activities General

Payday loans

Short-term, high-interest loans

Auto loans

Mortgage loans

Student loans

Gambling

Sweepstakes

Stock alerts

Cryptocurrency

Debt consolidation

Debt reduction

Credit repair programs

Deceptive work from home programs

Multi-level marketing

Work from home programs

Risk investment opportunities

Debt collection or consolidation

Cannabis

Alcohol

Tobacco or vape

Phishing

Fraud or scams

Deceptive marketing

Pornography

Sex-related content

Profanity or hate speech

Firearms

 

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What are the minimum requirements to get verified?

  • Toll-free number(s)
    • CSV file with TFNs and business names for batch submissions (up to 1000 TNs per bulk file)
  • Verification brief with the required fields completed
  • The use case is not listed on our Ineligible Use Case list
  • Opt-in process is documented/detailed
    • Screenshots and/or URLs are required for marketing use cases
  • Bandwidth and Carrier Best Practices (CTIA guidelines) are being followed

How do I submit a toll-free verification form? 

Click here to submit a verification form. 

If you would like to submit in bulk, check out our bulk toll-free verification guide.

What are the differences between Verified, Pending, and Restricted numbers?

The Toll-free Aggregator has created 3 Classes of Service to classify verification status: Verified, Pending Verification, and Restricted.

  • Verified: Verified numbers have gone through the toll-free verification process and were approved. Their traffic is subjected to limited filters. If traffic does trigger any filters that specific content will be blocked but the number will not be automatically blocked.

  • Pending Verification: Pending Verification numbers have submitted a toll-free verification application, and are currently awaiting a response from the aggregator. They can send at a lower throughput than verified numbers, but higher than restricted numbers. Blocking can be applied to individual content or there can be an automatic block of all traffic from the number. These numbers will remain in this pending state until a decision has been made on verification status.

  • Restricted (aka Unverified): Restricted numbers have either 1) not submitted a verification request or 2) have had their application denied. These numbers are subject to the highest amount of filtering, and numbers in this state will automatically get shut off if any spam or unwanted traffic is detected.
    • Daily Limit: 2,000 messages per day
    • Weekly Limit: 12,000 messages per week
    • Monthly Limit: 25,000 messages per month. 
      • All messages, regardless of being successful or not, will count toward the daily, weekly, and monthly volumes.

      • For example, if a customer sends 25k messages on the first of the month, the first 2k messages will be allowed to send, and the remaining 23k messages will be blocked. All 25k messages will count toward the weekly and monthly totals.

Why do I keep getting 4795 errors even though I'm sending under the Unverified limits? 

This error code is also inclusive of the spam and content blocks on unverified traffic, as well as the alert for reaching the unverified volume threshold. There is strict content filtering for unverified numbers. Unverified numbers are subject to the most strict content filtering and tight volumetric restrictions which won't provide the best delivery rates.
 
The daily/weekly/monthly thresholds were never meant to be a long-term solution. It was created as a buffer since there is an industry backlog to allow end businesses to still send messaging traffic while they are waiting to move to a "verified" state.
 
The resolution for either instance of a 4795 block is going to be pursuing and obtaining verification. That's the path forward to resolve the blocking. Please ensure that requests are being submitted for all onboarding customers to secure their place in line for processing. 
 
If you are experiencing 4795 errors or blocks, click here to submit a verification form for the number. 

Or if you would like to submit multiple in bulk, check out our bulk toll-free verification guide.

I'm experiencing message failures. Who do I contact? 

The Campaign team only processes verification requests. If you are experiencing a disruption of your messaging traffic, please check out this support page with detailed steps on how to open a technical support ticket with Bandwidth to begin the investigation.

What is the cost of verification? 

There is no cost for verification. Verification is free.

How long does verification take?

Dependent upon the volume, the Bandwidth pre-vetting process can take up to 1 week to get submitted for review with the TF aggregator. Once submitted, the official review process may take up to 3-4 weeks. This means the total processing time could take up to 5 weeks.

Verifications are processed in the order they are received, so no provider is faster than any other provider. For additional information please see our section on toll-free verification timelines above.

How will I be notified regarding the status of my verification request?

Once the team receives and prescreens the request, it will be submitted to our TF peer.  The team will open a support ticket with the BW customer, using the compliance POC email, listed on the brief. 

How can I see if a toll-free number has been previously verified or is currently verified?

There is currently no ability to see if a toll-free number has been verified through the Bandwidth dashboard, although this feature has been added to our roadmap. If you would like to know which of your numbers are currently verified, please reach out to your Bandwidth account manager.

What are the benefits of going through the verification process?

  • Reduced amount of false-positive blocks
  • Faster resolution for deliverability issues
  • Increased protection for your customer’s brand

Will verification reduce the chance of being blocked by carriers?

Verification means that the filters applied to a number will be refined, so blocks should lessen. However, if content changes/differs from approved campaign purposes or if language is sent over the number that triggers a filter, the number may be blocked. For example, if cannabis traffic is sent on a verified number, it should create a block.

Can I whitelist campaigns? 

Verification is not whitelisting. Verification doesn’t systematically remove or prevent any spam blocking. However, it’ll put the use case on file with our peers so that we can work with them more quickly if the messages are blocked. Verification only impacts active deliverability with our toll-free messaging partner and not mobile carriers.

My verified toll-free number(s) got blocked. Can I unblock it? 

Yes, please open a support ticket with our Technical Assistance Center (TAC). If the number is already verified, please share this information in the ticket for a quicker resolution.

How many numbers can I submit at once?

The verification process is designed to verify a single number with a single-use case. We do, however, understand that there are other use cases that require more than one number. 

If you are submitting a request with 5 or more numbers, you will need to use the bulk toll-free verification form. You may submit up to 1000 numbers per form. However, each number will be verified individually for specific compliance requirements.

Can a reseller get all of their numbers verified? 

Verification is meant for the end business actually sending the message traffic and not for the reseller. We're not able to verify numbers at the platform level.

Can I submit verification requests via API?

Bandwidth is currently developing an API to automate customer submission for toll-free verification. The TF Verification API will allow submissions to be sent directly to the Toll-Free Aggregator without going through a Bandwidth review. Numbers will enter a pending state once received by the aggregator, and status changes can be retrieved through the API. While this will speed up the submission process, the review process will still take between 3-4 weeks.

The TF Verification API timeline has shifted and we are aiming for mid-February. Please reach out to your account manager if you have detailed questions. The API will be available at no additional cost and will not need additional contracting.

My customer has numbers that were previously verified via their prior provider. What is the process of re-confirming verification through Bandwidth? 

A toll-free number will retain its verified status when ported, but its verification may be retested to ensure that traffic remains compliant. The retesting process may include requests for additional information regarding evidence of consent, privacy policies, and terms and conditions. 

In order to avoid the retesting process, we strongly encourage our customers to reverify their toll-free numbers once they port to our network. Please complete our TF brief or submit a bulk request to tfverification@bandwidth.com. If applicable, please attach any previously approved verification forms and/or ticket numbers.

What happens after September 30th?

Effective October 1, 2022, The Toll-Free Messaging Aggregator will apply the following industry-wide thresholds for messaging sent over unverified Toll-Free numbers in the U.S.:

Daily Limit: 2,000 messages per day

Weekly Limit: 12,000 messages per week

Monthly Limit: 25,000 messages per month

This only applies to unverified TFNs. This does not apply to TNs in a pending or verified status. 

TFNs sending traffic to Canadian destinations will need to have their traffic verified or in a pending status before October 1 or the traffic will be blocked. The above limits do not apply to unverified Canadian traffic.

Toll-free campaign brief fields and descriptions

Bandwidth Customer Name: The name of the Bandwidth customer completing the form.

Compliance Point of Contact: Name: The compliance contact should be at the direct Bandwidth customer's company.

Compliance Point of Contact: Phone: The phone number of the point of contact (POC).

Compliance Point of Contact: Email: The email address of the POC.

Compliance Point of Contact: Address: The business address of the POC.

Message Sender: Legal Company Name: The legal company name of the business sending the actual messages to consumers.

Message Sender: URL/Website: Provide the URL for the message senders official website. 

Organization Type: Use the drop-down menu to select the type of the message sender company.

Message Sender: State of Incorporation: The state where the message sender company was registered.

Message Sender Primary Company Address or Corporate Headquarters: The primary/corporate address of the message sender.

Campaign Description: Please describe your use case and the purpose of your messages (i.e. appointment reminders, receipts, etc.)

What types of messages are being sent? Use the drop-down menu to select an option that best describes your message type:

  • Informational: These messages inform your customers of things like service updates, appointments, and scheduling. Informational messages do not sell or promote anything regarding the business. 
    • Please provide supporting information on how opt-in is collected: Use the drop-down menu to select an option that best describes how subscribers opt in to the messaging program:
      • IVR: A potential subscriber provides their consent via an interactive voice response.
      • Keyword: A potential subscriber texts a keyword (i.e JOIN) to opt into a messaging program.
      • POS or other on-site location: A potential subscriber provides their consent at the point of sale or other on-site location.
      • Via paper form: A potential subscriber provides their consent at an in-person location via a paper form. 
      • Weblink/URL: A potential subscriber enters their telephone number through a website to opt into a messaging program.
      • Other: Use this field to detail any other type of opt-in not listed above.
  • Marketing: A text message sent that contains a sales or marketing promotion. 
    • Please provide supporting information on how opt-in is collected: Use the drop-down menu to select an option that best describes how subscribers opt into the messaging program (see the list above).
    • A screenshot and/or URL will be required to move forward.

Sample Messages: Please include 1-3 variations of the messages you intend to send.

Please choose the category that best represents your use case/content: Use the drop-down menu to select a category that closely resembles your use case. 

Are you using one sending number?

  • Yes: Select this option if you're using more than one sending number.
    • If yes, please enter the Phone Number Associated with the campaign into the populated field.  
  • No: Select this option if you are using more than one sending number.
    • If no, you will be prompted to answer a second question, "Are you using more than 5 sending numbers?"
      • If yes, you will need to submit the request via bulk. Please see our Bulk Verification Handbook for more details. 
      • If no, please complete the following fields:
        • Please describe the business use for using more than one sending number: Please provide the business reason the campaign is using more than one toll-free number to send messaging traffic.
          • Note: Carriers are very sensitive to the prohibited practice of snowshoeing or spreading the same or similar traffic over multiple sending telephone numbers, as the primary purpose for snowshoeing is generally an attempt to evade carrier spam filters. Therefore, our downstream peer will request an explanation if more than one toll-free number is listed.
        • Phone numbers associated with this campaign
            • Please list up to 5 TFNs, as well as, a short description or identifier of how each TFN is being used by the message sender.
              • Examples include providing the business name, location, or business use per TFN.

Estimated Monthly Message Volume: Use the drop-down menu to select a number that best represents the estimated monthly message volume.

Canadian Traffic: Please choose the appropriate drop-down selection if most of the traffic is expected to be delivered to Canadian handsets. 

Supporting Documentation: Please attach any additional information that would be useful.

Questions? Please open a ticket with your Bandwidth Support Team or hit us up at (855) 864-7776!

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