TRAI Asks Banks, Financial Institutions To Perform Re-Verification Of SMS Headers And Content Templates, All You Need To Know

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recently issued new instructions that require banks, financial institutions, and similar organizations to undergo a re-verification process for their message headers and content templates. This move aims to tighten regulations on SMS communication and combat issues such as spam messages and financial fraud.

According to TRAI's statement, all commercial communications sent via SMS must be scrutinized against the content templates registered by principal entities (PEs) with the access service provider. If an SMS fails to comply with the registered templates, it will not be allowed to be delivered to consumers.

To ensure compliance, TRAI has directed access service providers to re-verify all registered headers and message templates on distributed ledger technologies (DLT) platforms. Within a timeframe of 30 to 60 days, unverified headers and templates are to be blocked.

TRAI has also issued a cautionary note, stating that any delay by PEs in initiating the re-verification process may result in the blocking of their headers, content templates, and messages. This emphasizes the importance of prompt action to ensure compliance with TRAI's guidelines.

In line with the regulatory framework, all commercial communications must be conducted using registered headers assigned to the PEs. Headers are alphanumeric strings that facilitate the sending of commercial communications, as outlined in the regulations.

TRAI has observed that some PEs have registered a large number of headers and content templates, which are occasionally misused by telemarketers. This misuse poses a threat to public convenience and can lead to spam messages and financial frauds.

In February 2023, TRAI reached out to regulatory bodies such as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), National Health Authority (NHA), and central/state government departments. TRAI requested these institutions to inform and sensitize the entities or departments under their purview about the necessary actions to prevent the misuse of headers and message templates.

Highlighting the urgency of the situation, TRAI emphasized that any further delays in re-verifying headers and content templates may result in the blocking of PEs' headers, content templates, and messages. The regulatory body will review the progress within the next two weeks and issue appropriate directions if necessary.

It is crucial for all PEs, including banks and financial institutions, to promptly complete the verification process for their headers and content templates. By doing so, they can ensure compliance with TRAI's guidelines, contribute to a safer SMS communication environment, and protect consumers from spam messages and financial frauds.

Stay informed and stay compliant with TRAI's new guidelines as the re-verification process unfolds.