Frequently Asked Questions

Why message status is 'Accepted' but end user did not receive my message?


In some case, messages may be sent from Pony Express but are not received at the end user's handset. This can happen for a number of reasons, including carrier content filtering, availability of the destination phone, etc. Please contact support for detailed troubleshooting steps. support@ponyexpresshq.com




Will I be charged when a message is failed?


No. If a message is failed, the credit cost of the failed messages will be added back to your account balance. Please note that Pony Express charges for the attempt of delivery, so any message marked as 'accepted' will be charged unless it is failed. In some case, messages may be sent from Pony Express but are not received at the end user's handset. This can happen for a number of reasons, including carrier content filtering, availability of the destination phone, etc. Please contact support for detailed troubleshooting steps. support@ponyexpresshq.com




What is a message credit?


Each message you send or receive consist of segments. Each segment counts as 1 Pony Express message credit. A segment counted as 160 characters (140 bytes) encoded as GSM 03.38 character set. If a message contains characters, not in GSM 03.38 character set, UCS-2 character set will be used and the number of segments might be higher. The amount of data you can squeeze into a single SMS message is limited – typically 140 bytes, or 160 characters for standard GSM encoding. Message credits let you exceed that limit by breaking the message into parts and reassembling it on the receiving end. Emojis & special characters matter: Characters outside of the standard GSM set (like emojis) are automatically encoded as UCS-2. UCS-2 uses more bytes per character, limiting you to 70 for a single message and 67 characters for longer ones. Source: https://www.twilio.com/blog/2017/03/what-the-heck-is-a-segment.html




What's the setup process like?


Pony Express has made the setup process as painless as possible. It's simple! 1. Sign up and verify your US based phone number. 2. Import your subscribers 3. Send your first group message. That easy!




What type of support is offered?


Pony Express offers email support (support@ponyexpresshq.com) and also we have live chat support available Monday - Friday from 9 AM - 6 PM PST. If you have an urgent issue, please contact urgent@ponyexpresshq.com.




Could we receive replies from our subscribers/group members?


Yes, you could receive replies from your clients and get notified via email and SMS.




Do you only offer long code (10-digit) telephone numbers?


Yes, when you sign up, Pony Express assigns you one free dedicated long code phone number. You can also add more phone numbers to your account for $1.25/Mo. Also, we automatically assign each subscriber to one of your Pony Express phone numbers so you don't have to think about managing multiple phone numbers.




Do I need to have written authorization from customers to send SMS?


In order to send a message to a specific cell phone number, as a Pony Express user you need the permission of the cell phone number owner. A mobile phone owner must give their explicit permission to you indicating they wish to receive messages from you. There are a number of ways you can get authorization to send messages. We generally recommend the following two ways: Keywords: For instance, Shmuel uses his Pony Express phone number and the keyword "weekend". A user can send a message to the phone number with the text message "weekend". The user then opts in to join Shmuel's customer database, which allows him to then send user future texts regarding special events or promotions they may have. Physically written authorization: In certain use cases it best to get their customers written permission, especially businesses who have regular or walk-in customers. For instance, a dealer may include a checkbox on the bottom of a new customer information form that just says “I would like to receive special discount information via text message”. Feel free to contact support if you need further assistance regarding collecting user permissions.




What does it mean an active account?


Your account will stay active as long as you send a message in the last 6 months.




Is there any expiration date to use my credits purchased?


No, there is no expiration date for credits as long as your account is active (your account will stay active as long as you send a message in the last 6 months)




How can add the web widget on my website?


You can add the Web Widget on your website, to collect the phone numbers automatically. Click Web Widget tab on the left menu

  1. Select a Group
  2. Click Create Widget
  3. Copy the code and paste it into your website, that's all!




Can you get a local number when you sign up for your service?


Currently, you can not change your phone number when you sign up. Each Pony Express HQ user starts off with one free, dedicated phone number. You can also purchase additional phone numbers with your local area code.




I currently have email addresses of my customers, how do I can start sending them info via text messaging?


A good way to convert email subscribers into SMS subscribers is to ask them to signup for SMS updates via the following way: 1. Create a keyword called UPDATES 2. Send an email to your subscribers to let them know how they can sign up for SMS updates. Here is an example: “Text UPDATE to 555-444-3322 get messages daily” That way, once a customer sends the keyword to your phone number 555-444-3322, she will be automatically added to the group you created. Another way is to create a subscription web widget and place the code on your website. When a customer signs up from your website, you can see them in your Pony Express dashboard as a subscriber.




Why my message status is 'sent' but not 'delivered'?


Message statuses are updated as 'delivered' after it has been 'sent'. There may situations where this information is not available. When this happens, the status of the message will remain as 'sent'.




Is there a limit on the number messages I can send?


To make sure your dedicated Pony Express phone number is not blocked by carriers, we limit the number of messages you can send at a time. This restriction ensures that all the messages are delivered to their recipient and your dedicated phone number does not get blocked by carriers and SMS gateway provider. In addition to daily limits, please read our Anti-Spam Policy and make sure you have proper explicit opt-in from all your subscribers.




How do I upload contacts with a CSV file?


You can easily upload contacts using a CSV file. Please make sure your file has a header row as described below. Bulk contact import will filter out any contact without a valid US phone number. CSV file should have a header row with identifiers for each column. 1. Header row should include the fields; First Name, Last Name, Phone Number, Email 2. After that select your users. If you want to select everybody in your list, check the box the next to the phone number box. ✅ 3. Click to import button. That's it.




How long does the service take to set up?


You can signup and create SMS campaigns within minutes.




Will my SMS credits expire?


As long as you have an active Pony Express HQ account, your SMS credits will never expire.




Can I schedule messages to be sent at a later date?


Yes, it’s easy to schedule a campaign for a later date/time delivery. Simply select "Send at a specific date and time" and set the date and time.




How long do messages stay in my inbox for?


Messages will stay in your Inbox permanently. You can easily archive them.




Why are my messages using up two credits?


A message can use over one credit if you do either of the following:

  1. The first time you message a person, a legal suffix will be automatically added to your messages: "(STOP to end. Contact Pony Express HQ for help. T&C:goo.gl/RXSsEP.)". This is a legal requirement and it will increase your message credit to two.
  2. Using over 160 characters per message
  3. Using MMS (an image) per message
  4. Special characters




What is Pony Express HQ?


Pony Express HQ is a web-based platform that allows businesses to communicate with their customers through real-time mobile messaging such as text messages and Facebook messenger. Businesses can easily create custom contact lists, send mass messages, and keep track of conversations in an online dashboard. Once customers reply, businesses can chat 1-on-1 with each customer. Use cases:

  • Send a message to as many customers as you’d like at any time to promote an event, business, service, deal, or product
  • Respond to questions quickly for customer service
  • Take a poll or gather votes
Cool features
  • Get your own, dedicated phone number to send messages from
  • Schedule messages in advance or send and reply in real-time
  • Send messages with emojis and/or images (not everyone has this!)
  • Create as many groups as necessary (i.e. “VIP’s” or “new customers”)
  • Use as many “keywords” as you want (i.e. “Text HAPPYBDAY to get your Birthday discount!)




How can I check if a message has been sent?


Sent section of your dashboard shows if a message has been delivered or undelivered, if it’s pending or if the number was invalid. Depending on the carrier, delivering messages can take up to several minutes.




Can people opt-out of my phone number?


Yes, simply texting STOP to your number will opt-out the user from all of your groups and 1-1 chat.




Do I need a mobile phone?


For verification purposes, you need a US-based text message enabled phone number. Please contact support if you have a problem verifying your account.




Can I receive replies?


Yes. All messages coming to your dedicated phone number are accessible via our Inbox.




How do I see my received messages?


All the incoming messages appear in your Pony Express inbox. You can also see the see them from Notifications tab. You can also enable forwarding to receive incoming messages in your email or phone number.




What is an MMS message?


An MMS is a message that contains either a picture, video or sound file. Pony Express HQ currently only support picture files at this moment. MMS is charged with 2 credit per image. We’ll support on video and sound file soon.




Do I receive picture messages from customers?


Yes. Pony Express HQ supports incoming MMS incoming messages. 🤗




What is an SMS?


SMS stands for Short Message Service, and refers to the sending of short text messages from one device to another; in most cases from one mobile phone to another. The size of an SMS text message is restricted to 160 characters. You can combine multiple SMSs into one single message up to 1600 characters.




What is a keyword?


A keyword allows people to join a specific group associated with the keyword. By simply texting the keyword to your phone number, the sender is added to your subscribers under the associated group. Upon subscription, Pony Express HQ replies with the group's auto-reply. A unique keyword can only be associated with only one group.




What is a message credit?


Each message you send or receive consist of segments. Each segment counts as 1 message credit. A segment counted as 160 characters encoded as GSM 03.38 character set. If a message contains characters, not in GSM 03.38 character set, UC2 character set will be used and the number of segments might be higher. For a detailed discussion regarding segment counts, you can read the following blog post from Twilio.




Are there any contracts or hidden fees?


No. You don’t need to pay any setup fee nor contract or subscription.




What are my payment options?


Pony Express HQ accept all major debit and credit cards in the US.




Can I change my plan?


Absolutely. Reach us at support@ponyexpresshq.com for further details.




Are there any limits on number of contacts?


During the trial period, there is restriction on the number of subscribers you can reach. After the trial period, there are no limitations.




How about the hidden fees?


Standard Plan There are none. No contracts or setup fees. Connect your Twilio Account Plan There are no hidden fees. A monthly dashboard access fee is required after the free trial period. You can cancel anytime you want.




Which countries does Pony Express HQ support?


Pony Express HQ currently only provide service to the US.




When I choose Standard plan, what are my benefits?


Pony Express HQ will set up a free US based phone number. With standard plan, you get;

  • Unlimited keywords
  • Unlimited groups
  • Unlimited contacts
  • Free US phone number
  • Free account setup and monitoring
  • Free email support




When I connect my Twilio account, what are my benefits?


When you integrate your Twilio Account, and for messages sent and received, you pay Twilio for what you use and subscribe to Pony Express HQ for the dashboard access. You can also use one of your own Twilio phone numbers. Selected phone numbers SMS webhook address will be updated with Pony Express HQ webhook. As with all plans, you get the following features:

  • No contract obligation
  • Unlimited keywords
  • Unlimited groups
  • Unlimited contacts




How can I connect my Twilio account?


  1. Click the “Setup Twilio” button
  2. For Twilio Integration, Access your Twilio account and on the dashboard click on “Show API Credential”. To find this information on Twilio, select Programmable SMS under “Communications Cloud” on the top menu and copy your Account SID and Auth token and paste are Twilio API Credentials. Cloud” on the top menu and copy your Account SID and Auth token and paste are Twilio API Credentials.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Choose your Twilio phone number which does you want to associate with Pony Express? Once you associate a Twilio phone number, you can start using Pony Express dashboard to send and receive SMS.




If I don't have a Twilio account, may I still use Pony Express?


Yes, you can. When you choose “Local-Number” or "Toll-Free" phone number option, you will have access to the Pony Express dashboard with full access to all feature, and also have a dedicated free phone number. The standard package comes with free message credit during the trial period. You can also purchase additional credit separately. Please see Pricing page for details. Link




What is the SMS Character Limit?


SMS Character Limit; The character limit for a single SMS message is 160 characters, however most modern phones and networks support concatenation and segment and rebuild messages up to 1600 characters. Messages not using GSM-7 encoding are limited to 67 characters. Source: https://www.twilio.com/docs/glossary/what-sms-character-limit




What is the SMS Message Length and Character Encoding?


When you send a SMS message over 160 characters the message will be split. Large messages are segmented into 153 character segements and sent individually then rebuilt by the recipients device. For example, a 161 character message will be sent as two messages, one with 153 characters and the second with 8 characters. If you include non-GSM characters like eastern characters in SMS messages, those messages have to be sent via UCS-2 encoding. Messages containing any UCS-2 characters are limited to 67 characters and will be concatenated into 67 character message segments, even if the messages contain less than 160 characters. Source: https://www.twilio.com/docs/glossary/what-sms-character-limit





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Pony Express HQ is a 100% opt-in service.
Please see our Privacy Policy, Terms Of Use, Anti-Spam Policy to learn about our position on spam and the privacy of your data.

Pony Express HQ has a zero-tolerance policy for text messaging spam and reserve the right to immediately cancel the account for any user that does so. Don't be that person. 🙅‍

Standard message & data rates may apply. For help, text "HELP". To opt-out of any Pony Express HQ related group list, text "STOP" or contact Support, contact@ponyexpresshq.com​.


Pony Express HQ neither provides lists of phone numbers nor do we give access to our clients’ contact lists.