Certified SMS: what it is, how to send and legal framework

What Certified SMS is


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    The methods of sending certified messages have varied over time, with certified SMS being one of the most widely used again today. Technological advances in communication and the use of new types of devices have led to the creation of various tools to guarantee the security and authenticity of the messages sent

    One such development is certified SMS, an innovative solution that provides an additional layer of trust and legal validity to messages sent via SMS. This medium is relevant because, as others have become saturated and less used, it captures the attention of the receiver in a more interesting way.

    In this article we are going to see what certified SMS are, how they work, their technical characteristics and the tools that allow you to manage all types of sending certified messages via SMS.

    What is a certified SMS

    A certified SMS is a text message sent via a mobile line service that guarantees its authenticity and secure delivery to the recipient on their phone or similar device. Unlike traditional text messages (short message services), certified SMS uses specialized technology to record and verify the delivery of the message, providing an additional level of security, legal backing and trust.

    Also known as "certified SMS messages" or "certified SMS", the certified SMS are text messages with legal and evidentiary value that proves its sending, reception and immutability of the content. It works as a reliable proof of communication, similar to the bureaufax or registered letter, but with the advantage of the immediacy and simplicity of SMS.

    It is a useful tool for communications such as legal notices, important notices or transaction confirmations. It has full legal validity and is considered an official method of electronic communication and notification.

    Although documents and sealed messages can also be sent with full evidentiary validity through Whatsapp, Telegram, email and other types of applications and communication and instant messaging systems, the certified SMS has gained weight and popularity as a method of legal electronic notifications since it arrives directly to the recipient's cell phone and captures their attention by not getting lost among the hundreds of emails or messages that most users receive per week or even per day.

    Certified SMS: how they work

    Certified SMS works through the use of a qualified trusted service that acts as an intermediary between the sender and the recipient. When a certified SMS is sent, the service records the delivery of the message, including the date and time of delivery, as well as confirmation of receipt by the recipient and even reading. This information is securely stored and can be used as evidence in case of legal disputes or need for validation.

    The process of sending and certifying an SMS is based on three key technologies:

    • Blockchain: Blockchain technology and end-to-end models (end-to-end encryption) are used to record the sending of the SMS in a block chain, guaranteeing its integrity and immutability. This creates an irrefutable record of the communication that cannot be modified or deleted.
    • Time stamp: Closely linked to the previous technology, time stamping or timestamping records all events that occur before, during and after the sending, receiving and reading of the certified SMS.
    • Digital signature: The electronic signature is used to authenticate the identity of the SMS sender. This ensures that the message comes from and is received by who it claims to be and has not been forged. This helps to guarantee non-repudiation.

    Regarding technical aspects of the certified SMS, these sealed messages have a specific format that includes the following information:

    • Header: The message header contains information about the sender, the recipient and the date and time of sending.
    • Metadata: Includes telecommunications operator information and all data associated with the shipment and the entire process to be included in the audit trail report.
    • Body of the message: The body of the message contains the text of the message and the content of the electronic notification, which is the core of the communication from the sender to the receiver. Legal and juridical confirmation.
    • Electronic signature: It is optional and can include sending a document in the SMS certificate to sign (electronic signature request) through a specific electronic signature standard. It is usually a link to an electronic signature tool on the web. The electronic signature is used to authenticate the identity of the sender.
    • Additional information: The message can include additional information, such as a verification code or a link to a document, image, audio, etc.

    Certified SMS is highly secure thanks to blockchain and e-signature technology and varies in cost depending on the Qualified Trust Service Provider (QTPS). In general, prices are reasonable and affordable for most companies and organizations that require these services (virtually all industries and sizes).

    Try Tecalis Sign, the platform for signing and sending certified SMS messages

    One of the most outstanding aspects of certified SMS is its great capacity to legally support an immediate communication, with full legal validity in most countries. Especially in those belonging to the European Union, but also in Latin America, the USA and the United Kingdom. 

    Certified SMS have the same legal validity as other reliable means of notification, such as bureaufax or registered letter. This means that they can be used as evidence in a trial or administrative procedure. They are also often referred to as online bureaufax, although they do not necessarily use Internet networks when using SMS.

    This service acts as an impartial witness to the delivery of the message, providing verifiable evidence of the communication between sender and recipient, and in many cases if the technology allows it, also the confirmation of reading. By using a qualified trusted service, the integrity and authenticity of certified messages is guaranteed, making them a powerful tool for business and personal communication with guaranteed non-repudiation.

    Qualified trust services providers: reliable electronic notifications

    As a qualified trust service under the eIDAS and eIDAS 2 (EU Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions), certified messages and SMS are considered reliable notifications, which means they have legal and evidentiary value in case of disputes or litigation. This provides companies and individuals with a secure way to communicate and guarantee the authenticity of the messages sent.

    To ensure the legal validity of certified SMS, they must be issued by a Qualified Trusted Service Provider (QTSP). These providers are regulated by the European Union and comply with the requirements set out in the eIDAS Regulation. They also help with the storage and safekeeping of the certificate generated by sending the certified SMS, which is available on the platform for download for years.

    This standard defines QTSPs as entities that provide trusted electronic services, such as the issuance of electronic certificates (through any digital channel) and the management of electronic signatures. The QTSP you choose to make use of this service must comply with a series of requirements to guarantee the security and reliability of the certified SMS.

    Uses of certified SMS: examples and applications

    Certified SMS has a wide range of applications and uses in various industries. Companies can use certified SMS to send invoices, appointment confirmations, delivery notifications and other important messages to their customers. Of particular note is their use for sending electronic signature requests.

    The use cases for certified SMS vary depending on the activity of the company or organization: financial institutions can use certified SMS to send transaction alerts, payment confirmations and other messages related to account security while government entities use them to send appointment reminders, document expiration notifications and other official messages to citizens.

    Certified SMS can be used in a wide variety of situations, such as:

    • Notification of deadlines and expiration dates
    • Modifications of contract conditions
    • Delinquency, renewal or termination notices
    • Judicial summons
    • Notice of meetings or assemblies
    • Eviction notices
    • Communications with the Public Administration
    • Commercial communications:
    • Confirmation of orders and purchases
    • Delivery Notices
    • Electronic invoices
    • Contracting processes
    • Product and service registration or cancellation
    • End of policy
    • Contracts and agreements
    • Confirmation of bank transactions
    • Notices of changes in the terms and conditions of service
    • Electronic voting
    • Authorizations and permits
    • Confirmation of attendance to events
    • Queue management
    • Identity verification
    • Sending access codes

    A bank for example uses certified SMS to notify its customers about unusual movements in their accounts and a telecommunications company to confirm the portability of a telephone number. There are many outstanding uses but SEPA direct debit acceptance, debt claims, notices, or sending legal documentation are the most important for sending certified SMS.

    How to send a certified SMS

    Sending a certified SMS is a simple process that can be done through a QTSP's specialized messaging and digital signature platforms. These web applications or APIs offer specific tools and functions for sending certified SMS messages, including the option to request delivery confirmations and receive real-time notifications on the status of the message.

    In order to send certified SMS, a series of basic steps must be followed, which are summarized below:

    1. Access your electronic signature and notification platform with a qualified and trusted service provider.
    2. Register on the platform and create an account.
    3. Select the option to send a document or message and select SMS.
    4. Upload the document containing the information you wish to transmit via SMS or write it directly there.
    5. Enter the recipient's phone number and details.
    6. Follow the instructions for sending and electronically signing the message.
    7. Check and confirm the sending of the certified SMS.
    8. Download if you wish the audit report to accredit the notification in case you need it.
    eBook: How to choose an Electronic Signature solution

    Advantages of certified SMS messages

    The advantages and benefits of using certified SMS messages are numerous and significant, including providing an additional level of security and authenticity to the messages sent, ensuring their integrity and reliability. By using a qualified trusted service, certified messages have legal validity and can be used as evidence in case of disputes or litigation. Immediate delivery, acknowledgement of receipt and the possibility of attaching PDFs, images, etc. are crucial elements of certified SMS.

    Sending a certified SMS is as simple as sending a traditional text message, with the added benefit of advanced tracking and delivery confirmation or document signature features. In addition, SMS is delivered instantly, making it ideal for urgent and time-sensitive communications that stand out from the crowd. SMS has an open rate of over 90%, which means that the recipient is very likely to read the message, unlike other methods.

    Certified SMS is a cost-effective and efficient solution compared to other methods of reliable communication, with good prices. Trusted service platforms give you the possibility to send from any device with internet connection and connect it in an automated way with your predefined systems, so you don't even have to do it yourself. Through APIs, notifications are automatically triggered in the form of certified SMS so that you can forget about everything and can be sent to a large number of recipients simultaneously (mass mailings), easily and economically.

    SaaS tools for sending certified SMS allow a pay-per-use of the system, charging only when the confirmation of delivery and receipt of the certificate has been made effective. They allow centralized management with extensive customization options and a complete record in the evidence document

    In short, certified SMS is a powerful tool for ensuring the security, authenticity and legal validity of messages sent via SMS. With its ability to provide credible notifications and ensure secure message delivery, certified SMS has become a popular choice for businesses and individuals looking for a safe and reliable way to communicate.

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