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What are Text Alerts?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 16, 2024
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Text alerts are automatic messages delivered to your cell phone or other mobile device when you choose. They are designed to remind you of important events, alert you to something, or simply entertain. Text alerts are easy to sign up for and use to your advantage.

Text alerts exist for all different purposes. Some of the most popular text message alerts are associated with your bank or credit card. They might alert you when a deposit, withdrawal, or payment occurs on your account, or when your credit card is used. If you are concerned about identity theft or credit card theft, mobile alerts can be a great way to keep track of your finances and stay secure.

Other financial purposes might include stock market notifications. You may wish to be notified when a stock either increases or decreases in price, or when a stock is purchased or sold. This might help you make quick decisions about stocks while at work or on the go when you are pressed for time.

If you are making travel plans or trying to determine the length of your commute, you might set up weather alerts. These text alerts can alert you not just to the weather forecast but to extreme and potentially dangerous weather changes. Traffic alerts might also be handy, to notify you of potential traffic jams or detours.

Some other text alerts are used for fun or entertainment purposes. You might receive breaking news alerts on your phone, or celebrity and entertainment gossip. Horoscopes, famous quotes and words of the day are also popular. If you are on a diet, you can have diet and healthy eating tips sent to your phone, or tips on living green. Tracking your favorite sports team is easy with text alerts -- you can notified when the team scores, or with the final game scores at the end of the day.

Often, text alerts are free, but not always. Read the fine print before signing up for anything that could potentially cause your cell phone bill to skyrocket, and be sure to find out how to opt out of the alerts if you don't find them useful or want to stop receiving them. Setting up your own personal text alerts on your phone is easy and always free; you might do this to remind yourself of a doctor's appointment, a birthday, a meeting, or any other event that you don't want to forget.

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Discussion Comments

By Speechie — On Sep 10, 2011

I did not know that phone text alerts occurred until, i had a friend who had their phone making a specific ringtone after which she would spout out the a random news story.

So I asked her, "Who is always texting you the random news stories?"

She had a great laugh of course about this and told me she had signed up for the local news text alerts.

I don't even watch the local news (I know, I know, I should but I just cannot get myself to watch the sad and then warning segments they always seem to watch), so I can't imagine this would be the text alert I would have sent to me.

I would probably be the person to have my bank account or bill-pay account set up to have text alerts sent so that I would be less likely to miss a payment.

By cloudel — On Sep 09, 2011

Text alerts help businesses do their part to help the environment. Every time they text coupons or sale information, they save trees by not printing them out and mailing them instead.

I think that the rise in text alerts is due to the green initiative sweeping the nation. I personally would rather get a text than junk mail. I have to throw away flyers, but I can easily delete a text without contributing to a landfill.

I work at a clothing store with four other people. Since we have so few employees, my boss sends out text alerts informing us of our work schedules for the week. She started doing this after she went on a green kick, and I like it, because it means I don’t have to take home a paper schedule and worry about keeping up with it all week.

By lighth0se33 — On Sep 08, 2011

I signed up to receive coupons from a shoe store where I recently bought some boots. I expected the coupons to come in the mail, or at least by email, but they did ask for my phone number. I was surprised to receive a text alert about a sale and a special promo code to enter if shopping online to receive a discount.

In addition to promo codes, I get text alerts from them every time that they have an in-store sale. To me, the store sale text alerts are more useful than the online codes. The store is in my local mall, and since I prefer to try shoes on before I buy them, I usually just go in person rather than buying online. That way, I can tell if the shoes are comfortable and how well they fit.

By OeKc05 — On Sep 07, 2011

I receive a free text alerts from my phone company. I have signed up for automatic bill payment, so my bill gets charged to my credit card on the same day of every month. The phone company texts me to let me know that my bill has been applied.

They also send out free alerts from time to time when they are having special offers. I get messages from them about how if I add a line, I can get a free phone. I have never purchased anything because of these text alerts, but I imagine they work for some people.

By wavy58 — On Sep 07, 2011

My husband’s workplace sends him a text alert when they deposit his check directly into his bank account. They don’t do paper checks or pay stubs anymore, so it’s good to get a text letting you know exactly how much you received.

I know that he could easily check our bank account to see the amount, but sometimes deposits don’t show up right away. The text alert tells him how much he got sooner than his bank would.

He had to request the text alert from his employer. They let employees sign up for this option. This way, they don’t send out messages to people without texting plans who would have to pay for the text.

By golf07 — On Sep 06, 2011

Even if you don't pay for a text messaging plan on your phone, you can still receive text message alerts.

This really confused my dad for awhile as he thought he was being charged every time this happened. He doesn't have a text message plan on his phone, and he was afraid to read them thinking he would be charged every time.

Even though the alerts he received were nothing he really needed to know about, it still got his attention when he saw there was a text message on his phone.

By bagley79 — On Sep 06, 2011

We didn't have a text messaging plan with our cell phones for quite awhile. Once we got to the point where we were sending and receiving more than $5.00 a month in text messages, we added it to our plan.

Before we added text messaging, we would get mobile text alerts from our cell phone company. It seems like they sent them out quite frequently, so am glad that we weren't being charged a fee every time we received one.

I wasn't interested in most of the text message alerts, but when they sent me one to let me know I was close to being over on my minutes, I was glad to receive that one.

By wander — On Sep 05, 2011

For those that enjoy traveling most airlines now offer you the ability to get text alerts about your flights. You can find out if your plane is delayed, and sometimes even check-in on your phone. The technology is pretty impressive.

One of the best things I like is the hotels that offer text alerts to let you know your reservation is confirmed. This is an easy way to store your hotel reservation information, because if you save the text alert you can use it when you check-in to your hotel.

I think as time goes on more and more businesses are going to forgo paper in favor of text alerts.

By manykitties2 — On Sep 04, 2011

A good idea if you are bargain shopper is to get on the text alerts messaging lists at your favorite stores. Nothing is better than learning that your favorite places to shop are having a last-minute sale on something you really need.

Just this week I've been notified of a 40% off sale at my favorite cosmetics store and a 75% sale off at my local video rental shop. I would never have known about these events if it was for the text alerts they send.

While some people consider text alerts from stores complete spam, I appreciate being let in on sales.

By strawCake — On Sep 04, 2011

@Monika - That's funny. It seems like colleges ought to keep you on the alert list for a year, and then just have everyone who wants to sign up again.

I just wanted to reiterate what the article said about being careful when you sign up for alerts. I had a friend who signed up to get her horoscope texted to her every day, not realizing she was being charged a few dollars every time. When she got her cellphone bill, she was shocked! She quickly took herself off the list, but she still had to pay for the time she had used.

It always pays to read the fine print!

By Monika — On Sep 03, 2011

When I was in college my school used text alerts to keep students informed. They would send text alerts to let us know that the campus was closed due to inclement weather and inform of us of emergency situations.

I always liked it when I would wake up in the morning during the winter time, turn off my alarm on my phone, and see that I had a text from school telling me we were having a snow day! I was able to just roll over and go back to sleep instead of turning on the TV or getting up to go on the Internet and check.

The only problem is, I never figured out how to take myself off the alert list. I'm not in college anymore, but I still gets those texts!

By gravois — On Sep 02, 2011

I use a computer program that allows me to create a calendar which send me text alerts when an important event is coming up. You can change the setting to tell it how often you would like to be alerted and how far out.

I am kind of scatterbrained and even if I make a calendar and a schedule I am likely to forget things. But I got a text last week telling me that my daughter's birthday was coming up. And I get texts alerting me to upcoming meetings. I can even set it up to send me texts of encouragement. For instance, I have it send me a daily text telling me to work on a novel I have been tinkering with. Its a great motivator and my life is so much better organized. If I didn't get texts alerts I would forget just about everything.

By jonrss — On Sep 02, 2011

There is a bar that I really like going to that does a lot of cool stuff using text alerts. You have to opt into the program by writing down your name and cell phone number but they do a good job of publicizing this inside the bar.

Once you are signed up they send out three or four texts a week. usually they will tell you what kind of bands are playing, what drink specials they have and if they are offering any new food. But they will also send out code words and instructions for getting extra deals.

For instance, I got a text once telling me that if I used the word marsupial when talking to a bartender I could get a 50 cent shot. Another said that anyone that dressed as a pirate would get free grog. Its just fun stuff like this to get people thinking about the bar and to make the experience a little more fun. I definitely dressed up as a pirate that night.

By nextcorrea — On Sep 01, 2011

I think that text alerts are a great idea because it is such a quick and effective way to spread information. It is not the one and only way but it is another tool.

Not everyone watches TV. Not everyone has the radio playing. Not everyone notices sirens and other alerts sent out over the air. But lots and lots of people have cell phones sitting in their pocket and most people notice when they get a text.

Whether it be for disaster preparedness or just to tell people that frozen pizzas are buy one get one, the text is a simple and focused piece of information that almost anyone can get. Its a great way to spread the word.

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