Regulations governing the use and development of SMS payments vary from country to country around the world.  Here’s a brief guide to the main regulations for each country we have information about.

Note that in most countries – but not all – adult and erotic content are banned. In some countries, religious and political content, and even quizzes, are banned.  Check with your SMS payment solution provider exactly what you can and cannot do with SMS payments in the country you wish to operate in.

United Kingdom

If you are operating in or from the United Kingdom, you must comply with the E-Commerce Regulations 2002. In brief, this means you must provide:

  • Clear information on pricing, special offers, terms and conditions.
  • Clear information on any delivery charges.
  • An indication of any unsolicited offers or communications you might send, and offer users a clearly marked option to opt out of receiving these.
  • A clear, registered address where customers can reach you.


All 27 members of the European Community are bound by the E-Commerce Directive of 2002, which is the same as the E-Commerce Regulations 2002 enforced in the UK.

The countries covered by E-Commerce Directive 2002 are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein also follow these regulations.

North America

In the United States, there are currently no nationwide regulations covering the use of what they call PSMS (Premium Short Message Services). However, there are already provisions in US law for what can and can’t be done with SMS.

There must be no adult content, violence, illegal activity, racism or sexism, and all marketing must follow general US marketing law. All short codes – the premium SMS codes – in America are controlled by Neustar who control the Common Short Code Administration at Short Code Registry.


The requirements in Canada are very similar to those in Europe in that companies must provide clear information about the costs involved in purchasing via SMS, and all terms and conditions must be clearly explained. You can find a guide to Canadian law regarding premium SMS payments on txtNation’s website.


Australia has very detailed regulations on SMS payments and all premium SMS messages. These include no minimum subscription period, no use of the word ‘free’ or ‘complimentary’, clearly provided opt-out information, clear and accurate pricing, and the fact that all customers must be over 18 or have the mobile phone bill payer’s permission.

New Zealand

Similar to Australia, you must have a clear display of costs, provide a free or local-call-cost-manned helpline for customers. No gambling sites are permitted.