Shortcodes can be used to pay for certain types of services, like entering TV competitions or voting on reality shows, through your monthly phone bill or Pay As You Go credit balance. 

They’re a series of numbers, usually 5 digits long. And are used to access services not included in your normal allowances.

The following services are normally accessed using shortcodes:

  • sending messages to radio stations
  • calling video chat services
  • downloading games to your phone
  • entering TV competitions
  • voting in TV reality shows
  • making charity donations.

You can buy these services as either one-off purchases or by setting up a regular subscription using shortcodes.

Shortcode Checker

Find out the merchant and payment intermediary associated with each shortcode and their contact details by entering a shortcode number here.

Charges for shortcode services are listed in the promotional material or adverts for the service. The standard charge is 15p per message.

For contract customers, charges will appear under the Premium Shortcodes – sent & received - or Texts to other networks section of your bill. And charges for voice shortcodes will appear in the Calls to premium rate and other services section.

For Pay As You Go, charges will be deducted from your balance, so you need to make sure you have enough available credit to cover the cost of texting or calling the shortcode.

Most shortcode services will send you 1 or more messages as part of the service and you may be charged for 1 or all of them.

If a message starts with or was sent from FreeMsg or similar, you won't be charged and it won't appear on your bill.

Some services you've used may appear in the Three Pay section of your bill. Find out more about Three Pay.

If you want to manage how much you spend on numbers outside your allowance, head to our control your spend.

Getting messages from a shortcode you don't recognise? You can stop the service by texting the word STOP to the shortcode on your bill or phone. If you’ve got a zero spend cap set on your account, you won’t be able to text ‘STOP’. Instead, you’ll need to either remove the spend cap, call the merchant or payment intermediary or visit their website.

If you've been sent a message you didn't ask for and it was sent from a long number, it may be spam. Sending a STOP reply to messages like this won't work. We recommend that you don't respond to them in any way.

You can use our shortcode checker to find the contact details of the merchant that sent you a message or whose services you may have used. You can also find out more about premium rate services in our price guide.

If your transaction declines, you’ll get a message not sent error and no charge will be applied to your account.

This can happen if you've not got enough Pay As You Go credit to pay for the service, you’ve set up a voluntary credit limit or an out of bundle block on your Pay Monthly account, or there’s an error with the service or network.

If you continue to have problems texting or calling a shortcode, please get in touch.

There may be times where you don't recognise a text or call to a shortcode shown on your bill. For example, you might not realise you've paid for something, someone may have used your phone without your consent, or someone you know may have paid for something without your knowledge.

As the account holder, it is your responsibility for any shortcodes you text or call.

However, if your phone's been lost or stolen, you'll only be liable to pay the first £100 of any unauthorised usage on your account. That's only if you let us know of the loss or theft within 24 hours.

Has someone you know has used your phone to pay for content or services without you knowing? We'd recommend setting up a security PIN to stop this from happening again. Head to our device support pages for more information on how to do this.

To find out more about a transaction use the shortcode checker tool to find out who the merchant is. If you still don’t recognise the transaction, please contact the merchant or payment intermediary to discuss the charges. 

Shared shortcodes can be used by multiple merchants but only ever 1 payment intermediary. In the event of a shared shortcode the shortcode checker will show the name and contact details of the payment intermediary only. Please contact them if you have any queries or refund requests. 

  • Three is not responsible for content or services you've bought from other companies and therefore won’t refund purchases you’ve made using shortcodes, you need to speak to the merchant or payment intermediary you've bought the service from if you'd like to request a refund
  • They have 10 days to respond to your query, so make sure you give them time
  • If you need our help to escalate this matter for you, get in touch

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