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What do Bank of America, text messaging, and overdraft fees all have in common? Soon, via text message, Bank of America is going to be offering its customers the ability to accept an overdraft fee for a purchase that puts them over their spending capabilities.

This is a pilot program for the bank, and customers can enroll to have the option should their spending desires require larger quantities than the amount they currently have in their bank account. When making a purchase that would put the customer in the red, a text message will instantly be sent to the user and they can accept to make the purchase for a $35 overdraft fee.

Bank of America decided to move forward with the program in order to better inform their customers if and when they were going to be negative in their accounts, and to empower them to make a decision as to whether they really want to make a purchase or not.

The decision has a legal basis as well. Last year, law makers decided to ban banks from enrolling customers in overdraft programs without their active consent. Sending a text message is the most active and accurate way to gain approval, because it allows the approval of a purchase that results in an overdraft fee to be made at the time of purchase. The great part is that if the customer deposits the correct amount of money into their account by the end of the day, they do not incur the fee.

On April 17th 2011, co-founders Brian Stafford and Michael Lamb were interviewed live on-air on RSS Rays. They spoke about why all business should be using text message marketing. Read on for a summary of the interview.

Why text message marketing? Text messaging is the best way to reach out to your customer base because 98 percent of the population has the ability to receive a text message. Permission is a big aspect in text message marketing, as all people on your list need to opt in, and people ask to receive your messages. The mobile phone is the most important thing we carry with us, and very little spam is sent to the devices, since the carriers make sure it is a clean market space. Open rates are at 90-98 percent and you can almost ensure recipients will read messages because once a mobile phone buzzes or rings, people check it.

For what kind of business does this make more sense for? Anyone trying to reach their customers in real time; such as a restaurant with supplies expiring or a retailer who needs to get rid of the winter collection to make room for spring merchandise. During a slow time, such a business might send a text to rev up sales in slow period or to get in customers within hours.

How do businesses get people to give permission to send them text messages? The way to start is to pick a text message vendor that has a short code approved by all carriers to deliver the messages into the networks. Then the business must define what it is trying to accomplish. Once this is clear, marketers can put together signage, offers or value propositions that will inspire customers to send a text to allow that group to deliver text messages to them. A great thing about Opt It’s system is that we have taken those best practices and built it into our software. Opt It knows the laws, like how customers should remove themselves, the charges that coincide with these messages, all information the business owner needs to know so that they can create offers that are most valuable to them and their customers.

How often should a business send text messages? This depends on content being sent out and the business itself. Retailers and restaurants typically see success by sending 1-2 texts a week, other businesses can send more as long as the offer is clear and upfront and fits into the daily life of their customers.

What makes Opt It different from others? Opt It’s experience inside the text message marketing space is immense. With almost 7 years under our belts, we are some of the most experienced and have seen much growth and change happen within the industry. Opt It has a deep understanding on how to use the tool to drive business results. We’ve built a strong text message platform from the ground up and are able to offer it to our customers, along with our effective service offerings, at a great price.

Click on the following link to listen to the entire show: RSS Ray Free Podcast: Why Your Business Should Be Using Text Message Marketing

Recent studies conducted by the University of Michigan and University of California have focused on isolating the brain regions that control a smoker’s urge to smoke, in order to experiment with how text messages might be able to calm those urges.

The study used “functional magnetic resonance imaging” or MRI, to pin point the specific parts of the brain that cry out for nicotine. In order to gather data, Elliot Berkman, a University psychology assistant professor, choose a text message marketing platform like Opt It’s. He selected text over handing out PDA’s to all participants because “such devices are also relatively costly, since palmtop devices typically used for ecological momentary assessment can cost more than $300 each, while 86 percent of U.S. residents already have cell phones and 91 percent of those are SMS-enabled.” (Emily Falk, University of Michigan.)

The research study was able to gather facts on how many cigarettes were smoked each day, and also information on the associated emotions and behaviors. What they found is that when an individual is craving a cigarette, they need to do something that they consider self-controlling, and sending a text message is a self-controlling action. Study findings suggest that the behavior of texting may help ward off a smoker’s impulse to smoke.

The research scientists involved in the study praised the text messaging system because they feel it is a mode of communication that is very intuitive, that people are used to writing their emotions or thoughts within this intuitive means of communication, and that people always have their cell phones on them, which is ideal for a study that needs to gather information on a 24-hour basis.

Who is the world’s best texter? We bet if you tried, you could surely think of someone in your life deserving of the title. However, did you know that there was recently a texting championship that gave this prestigious title to an official winner?

That’s right; the LG Mobile World Cup has turned text messaging into an internationally competitive sport. Participants from around the world gathered, stretched out their fingers, and texted their little hands off for a grand prize of $100K. The participants were from 13 countries and texted in 7 languages. Before the event, LG spent a lot of time researching the stroke value of words in different languages to ensure that the games were fair for all.

At the event, which looked like it could have taken place on the same set as American Idol, the crowd watched how well each team of two performed via a monitor that depicted teams as cars going down a race track.

The 2010 Worlds Champions were Christina and Jennifer Sales of Team Panama, who took home the grand prize of $100,000. In 2nd place was team Korea, and in 3rd place team Brazil.

The latest Opt It feature, the Real-Time List Cleaner, was created in large part by our continued conversations with our customers regarding their needs and ideas on how we can improve our product offerings. For this, we thank you all.

In our monthly newsletter our customers will learn about using this feature, but we also wanted to make sure that we inform all potential users of Opt It Mobile 3.0 of this cool new capability.

Now our system is automatically able to check each individual number on your list to make sure it is still a good, working number that can receive your messages. If the system identifies a non-working number, it will unsubscribe it from your keywords in real-time. You can track this within the system very easily. No numbers will be deleted from the list; instead, you will see the number on your list without a phone icon next to it. This means the phone number is no longer subscribed to any keywords in your account, and you can still track the history of the particular number.

So, what about all the people that switch network carriers because they purchased an iPhone? Good question. If any number on your list does what is called “number portability” (switching carriers but keeping the same number), the system can recognize this and update it within your list so that it stays subscribed.

This new feature benefits you in many ways. You will have up-to-date, accurate information that is easier to analyze. You will have the peace of mind knowing that you are only sending messages to working numbers, which in turn leaves a few extra pennies in your wallet each month. All of this equals more bang for the buck, which is always good.

Check back for news about other cool new features!