How to top up SMS credits to send texts

You need to have purchased SMS credits to be able to send text messages through Arbor. 1 SMS of 153 characters or less uses 1 Credit. You can see further details on how to see your balance, and reminders here: SMS Billing and how to check your credit balance

While emails are free to send, there is a small processing fee for SMS. To keep costs down for schools, credits need to be pre-purchased. There are two methods for purchasing credits:

  • Purchasing a 'bundle' of credits
  • SMS Subscription

SMS Subscription

With an Arbor SMS Subscription, you pay yearly and get the benefits of an ongoing subscription – including cheaper SMS messages than when you buy bundles, no regular top-ups (unless you use all your credits), and one annual invoice.

  • For further details, please see our SMS Subscription Terms and Conditions.
  • To purchase SMS Subscription, or for more information on pricing, please contact us at

SMS Subscription FAQs

How much does SMS Subscription cost?

SMS subscription is an annual subscription with a fair usage gap based on your student numbers. You can see the pricing below.

Students Fair usage limit Annual price
0 - 49 5,000 £210
50 - 99 10,000 £410
100 - 199 20,000 £790
200 - 299 30,000 £1,150
300 - 399 40,000 £1,530
400 - 499 50,000 £1,850
500 - 599 60,000 £2,160
600 - 699 70,000 £2,440
700 - 799 80,000 £2,700
800 - 899 90,000 £2,940
900 - 999 100,000 £3,160
1,000 - 1,099 110,000 £3,480
1,100- 1,199 120,000 £3,790
1,200 - 1,299 130,000 £4,110
1,300 - 1,399 140,000 £4,350
1,400 - 1,499 150,000 £4,660
1,500 - 1,599 160,000 £4,880
1,600 - 1,699 170,000 £5,095
1,700 - 1,799 180,000 £5,290
1,800 - 1,899 190,000 £5,485
1,900 - 1,999 200,000 £5,660
2,000 - 2,099 210,000 £5,940
2,100 - 2,199 220,000 £6,230
2,200 - 2,299 230,000 £6,380
2,300 - 2,399 240,000 £6,530


What happens if we hit our fair usage limit?

Depending on the tier your school have purchased, your school will have a different fair usage limit. This is roughly 2.5 SMS credits per student per week. 

You can still send text messages. You will need to purchase an SMS Bundle to be able to continue sending SMS. Your credits will renew on your annual contract date.  

Do we get a warning when we're approaching the limit?

Just like if you purchased bundles, you can see your balance on the SMS Billing page.

We'll also send you emails to let you know if you're running low: Email reminders to top up SMS credits

Can credits be rolled over?

Your fair usage limit will reset each year. Credits will expire at the end of each subscription year.

This means that if you choose not to renew SMS Subscription, you will loose any remaining credits on your site that were part of your SMS subscription. Any credits purchased as a bundle will remain.



Credit bundles

To purchase an SMS Bundle and top up your Credits, go to School > Communication > Setup > SMS Billing and select the bundle you wish to purchase. The larger the credit bundle, the cheaper each message becomes. The bundles we offer (for most of our schools) are:

  • 50,000 for £2100
  • 10,000 for £480
  • 1000 for £48

Please note that some schools may see different pricing in the MIS due to contractual differences. You would pay the amount shown in your school's MIS.

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Once the bundle is added to your basket, click Checkout and select your preferred method of billing.

Screenshot 2024-02-21 at 10.47.23.png


Credits purchased by Debit/Credit Card will be instantly added to your account, while other payment methods require processing:

  • Direct Debits will take 3-5 working days
  • Bank Transfers will take 2 working days
  • Cheques will take 7 working days (from the date the cheque has been delivered)
  • Invoices will take 2 working days

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Top tips to prevent your payment being declined

If you aren't able to purchase SMS credits with your card, make sure:

  • You enter an approval code
  • You open the banking app and approve the payment (if prompted)
  • The card is set up to allow online purchases
  • The card is not blocked

Downloading an Invoice for an SMS Bundle Purchase

You can download an invoice for SMS bundles purchased within Arbor by going to School > Communications > Setup > SMS Billing and clicking on Billing History.


This will show you the schools SMS Purchase History. Select the purchase that you want to download an invoice for. A slide-over window will appear on the right with details of the payment. Click Download Invoice.

Please note that the invoice does not include details of who made the SMS credits purchase.


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