Touted as the “phone service for everyone,” TextNow is one of the popular second phone number apps in the US. If you’re searching for the top apps for phone numbers, it’s natural that you would come across it.
Before we get to the best TextNow alternatives, let’s first understand what makes it popular, especially among individual users in the US.
The biggest reason why it’s popular is also the reason why certain digital products are popular: TextNow is free. You can download the app, choose an area code and make calls and send texts to anywhere in the US and Canada for free.
It’s the only app with a free nationwide service. But it does come with ad support. Individual users who aren’t bothered by these frequent ads will probably use the service easily.
What makes it even more popular is its international call rates. You can make calls to Mexico without paying any charges, while you would need a subscription to call other countries.
The basic plan is free if all you want is to make calls to North America. While international calls to Mexico are free, these are the charges for other countries:
Other than the fact that it’s free (while being ad-supported), TextNow doesn’t have any features that you would expect from a virtual number app. If you want enhanced features, you should consider these top-rated second phone number apps.
TextNow is best suited for individuals, whereas Chalkboard is for business use – we’re talking entrepreneurs, freelancers, small business owners and gig workers. When you download this business-specific app, you won’t just get a second phone number for work but also an advanced marketing tool.
You can make and receive calls from any connected device and organise your contacts and broadcast messages to them in one go. You can also set up auto-reply for those calls you might miss.
Importantly, you can automate review aggregation for your business or side hustle. The app will automatically send review requests to your contacts and notify you when they leave a review.
If you want a free second number app, Google Voice is an option you can consider. The service is free if you only want the basic features and it can be connected to your Gmail account. While domestic calls are free, you’ll have to pay for international calls and the premium business plan.
Google Voice automatically transcribes your voicemails, although it isn’t always reliable. You can also connect your phone number to your Google Voice number. This allows you to make calls over your cellular connection rather than the internet. Since the service has millions of users worldwide, the customer support is – at best – sketchy.
Grasshopper has been around for close to two decades. This accounts for this second number app’s popularity since there was tremendous word-of-mouth push for it in the initial days. Grasshopper lets you choose toll-free or vanity numbers when you download the app.
You can also forward calls and get real-time notifications of missed calls. Like Google Voice, Grasshopper transcribes voicemails and forwards them as emails. The app suits medium and large enterprises but could turn out to be expensive for small businesses and startups.
From the biggest name in domains and web hosting, GoDaddy SmartLine is another virtual app in the market targeting businesses. You can choose from toll-free or vanity numbers and customise your call greeting to make your business look more professional.
With caller profiles, caller ID, call monitoring and scheduling, you get most of the basic features associated with a second number app for work. You also get spam filtering and automated voicemail transcription. But the service doesn’t offer auto-reply, which many business owners will benefit from. Nor can you send group messages to customers through the app either.
Of all the differences between TextNow and Burner, the most remarkable one is that the latter is specifically for temporary use only. If you want a disposable phone number, Burner is your app. This free app protects your privacy by giving you a temporary number to share with others.
Burner is handy when you go online dating or list things to sell via classified ads sites. It’s also useful while filling out online forms or if you’re travelling and need a temporary number. But the app doesn’t have any of the business features that you would need for work-related communication.
Among Textnow alternatives, what makes Chalkboard the perfect second phone number for business use? You get enhanced features such as auto-reply, contact organisation, group messages, review aggregation and review notification.
These are features you won't find together in any other second number app. Plus, you can start with a free trial and then choose from any of the affordable subscription plans. Download Chalkboard today and get a second number app and a marketing tool for your business.
A list of the best second number apps to help you create a phone number for business-related calls and texts