Send Free Text Messages With These 4 Apps

Yes, you can avoid SMS charges

Man using Mobile Messaging on cell phone

Eric Audras / Getty Images

It's easy to send free text messages from your mobile phone without incurring SMS charges, thanks to the rise of free, downloadable apps that will transmit text messages without using your cell phone's SMS text messaging quota. Basically, they zap messages over the Internet and bypass the SMS system, and all pretty much work the same way.

Free Messaging Apps

To send a free text message, try using any one of these apps:

  • What's App: WhatsApp launched in 2009 but really caught on in 2011. It has established itself as a leader in text-messaging as a standalone mobile app that allows users to send messages either over WiFi or over the Internet using their data plan instead of their SMS text messaging plan. WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging tool and works on most smartphones. It costs 99 cents for iPhones but has been free for the other platforms. Visit What's App website
  • Facebook Messenger: Determined not to be outflanked by rivals, Facebook has moved aggressively into text messaging on mobile phones. Its standalone Messenger app does something similar to WhatsApp and is available for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry platforms. Visit Facebook's mobile messenger page.
  • Kik Messenger: Kik works with the four major smartphone platforms — iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows. It has Reddit and YouTube tightly integrated, which makes conversation and community and video-sharing readily available. Kik started in 2009 and is a popular app for sending free text messages.

Bonus Apps: More Messaging Tools

  • Line: Line is a mobile messaging app especially popular in Japan that has been gaining popularity in other parts of the world. Its owner, Line Corp., is controlled by a South Korean firm called Naver. Line offers free texting, voice calling and also a bunch of free, colorful stickers. It is available for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Nokia--and also personal desktop computers. The Line messenger app first launched in 2011 in response to the devastating earthquake that hit Japan and knocked out a lot of communications. In addition to free texting and free calling, Line has branched out and offers photo-sharing features and status updates resembling those of social networks such as Facebook.
  • WeChat: WeChat, an app from China, is another popular mobile app allowing free texting and voice calls. It enables group chats, video chats, and works across platforms, including iPhones, BlackBerry, Android, Windows, and Nokia mobile devices. It is popular in East Asia and Africa and is owned by Tencent, China's largest Internet portal. WeChat is more than just a messenger, though. It's a multipurpose app that features photo filters, gaming, people-matching, taxi-hailing and more. WeChat launched in 2010, the year a bunch of smartphone free texting apps got their start and spread virally across many Asian countries.