What Does Message and Data Rates May Apply Mean in Texting

Jul 28, 2022

Are you unsure if you should include “message and data rates may rates apply” in your SMS marketing?

Keep reading to find the answers!

“Message and data rates may apply” is a CRITICAL disclaimer that must be included in opt-in campaigns. Unfortunately, many opt-in messages omit it – perhaps businesses are oblivious to the importance of the phrase.

Business owners aside, customers don’t even pay attention to the phrase. Just like the dreaded “terms and conditions may apply,” no one cares to read “message and data rates may apply.”

So, should you still bother? Should you include the phrase in your marketing texts?

To answer the inquiries, we shall look at the meaning and importance of “message and data rates may apply” from both the business and customer perspectives.

What Does “Message and Data Rates May Apply” Actually Mean?

In simple terms, “message and data rates may apply” implies that customers might be charged to receive your texts (and reply to them), depending on their cell phone plans.

Why “might”?

Ideally, most carriers’ plans won’t incur extra charges on customers for the messages you send to them.

Often, customers have unlimited plans or pay a flat rate at the end of the month. Nevertheless, that is not usually the case for all.

Some plans will still charge customers for receiving texts from you. This happens with the “pay-per-text plans.”

In such a case, the said customer might be billed up to 20cents per text received. If the message was MMS, the charges could rise to 30cents.

Why Does It Matter?

Mutual trust is vital to maintaining cordial relationships – even in businesses. Customers should know that they would be charged for your texting service. It is just the right thing to do.

Doing the right thing aside, not informing customers of any additional charges might dent your business reputation. Such an act might make you shady regardless of your 5-star reviews.

Specifically, here are the reasons you should include “message and data rates may apply” in your texts:

Carriers Demand It

Like you, cell phone service providers owe their users explanations on how they charge them. So, regardless of the plan, the carriers demand that businesses add the disclaimer in their opt-in campaigns.

It Is Standard Practice

Service providers aside, SMS marketing (or any marketing strategy) hinges on end users’ consent. Before you text your customers, they must approve of your messages. That’s the point of opt-in messages to start.

Furthermore, the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association) mandates businesses to inform customers about all charges – especially the “message and data rates may apply.” 

According to CTIA, businesses must include the phrase at the first point of opt-in.

Side note: aside from opt-in texts, you can also include the disclaimer in your auto-replies.

How To Include “Messages And Data Rates May Apply” In Your Texts

There is no rule or trick for including the disclaimer in your texts. However, make it clear and place it somewhere visible – perhaps as a standalone sentence.


Hi [name],

Thanks for subscribing to our texting service. We’ll only send a max of 4 texts/per month.

Messages and data rates may apply!

Text “STOP” to stop receiving messages from us.

Note: while informing customers about message and data rates, you must also show them how to opt-out if the charges are inconvenient.

That said, let’s see the meaning and importance of the disclaimer to customers!

What Customers Should Know About “Message And Data Rates May Apply”

What Is It?

For a customer, “message and data rates may apply” is a notice. It informs you that the message you received or might receive in the future might attract extra charges, depending on your phone plan.

However, the extra charges will only reflect on your account balance if you use “limited plans.”


“Message and data rates may apply” is crucial to businesses as it is to customers. It helps the former to improve credibility and saves the latter from EXTRA charges.

For those reasons, the disclaimer must be included in opt-in messages. Also, customers should be able to opt out of any texting service.

Furthermore, using the right texting software is vital. With one, you will avoid security breaches that might leak your details to scammers.

More importantly, your business will deliver the RIGHT message on schedule and save customers from extra charges.

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