In the digital age, text messages are the go-to form of communication for people. They allow us to message anyone from anywhere at any time. And over the years, certain acronyms for text messages have become commonplace, making it easier for people to quickly express their thoughts in a few letters. One of these acronyms is OTC, which stands for “over the counter.”
OTC is used in texting to refer to item(s) or service(s) that can be purchased, usually at a store, without having to visit a doctor to acquire a prescription. OTC medications are generally considered to be safe and effective, though they are not monitored as strictly as prescription medications.
It’s common for OTC items to be discussed when sending messages. For example, if someone needs to purchase ibuprofen, they might type, “What’s the best place to buy some OTC ibuprofen?” They’re asking for an establishment that sells the drug without the need for a prescription.
OTC is also used to refer to certain types of securities that can be traded without the need for a broker or a stock exchange. OTC stocks are listed on an informal market, such as the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB) or Pink Sheets. Investing in these stocks poses greater risk than trading securities listed on an exchange, as there is no exchange trading floor to monitor prices, and many of these securities are not required to report financial information.
In other cases, the OTC acronym can refer to the over-the-counter derivatives market, which is a decentralized market where buyers and sellers can negotiate contracts between each other. OTC derivatives are used primarily by large companies, financial institutions and governments to manage risk by hedging their investments or offsetting potential losses.
Aside from investment and security-related topics, OTC is also commonly used in texting to discuss trading of goods and services. For example, if someone is looking to buy an item from a private individual, they may ask “Who’s got some OTC I can buy?” or “Anybody got OTC they’re willing to trade?”
In short, OTC is used in texting to refer to any item or service that can be purchased, exchanged or traded without the need for a prescription or broker. From over-the-counter medications to stock investments to goods and services, the acronym is applicable to a number of transactions.