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What are Transactional Emails, and their Types?

Dec 22, 2021

By Shubham Kushwah

Reading time — 5 minutes

What are Transactional Emails, and their Types? at veonr blog by shubham kushwah

Everyone knows about Promotional emails, but what about Transactional ones, what does it mean? Should you have it set up? Did you ever receive one?

Simply put, a transactional email is an email sent to you as part of a transaction that you did. Although it's a little more than that, let's dig deeper, so the first question is...


  1. What exactly are Transactional Emails?
  2. What is a transaction?
  3. What are the Types of Transactional Emails? 1. Receipt Emails 2. Account Verification Emails 3. Password reset emails 4. Policy update emails 5. Double opt-in emails
  4. Conclusion

What exactly are Transactional Emails?

A transactional email is an email that you might automatically receive from a company once you perform an action on their platform. It's an automated email sent to you by the "robots" working on that platform.

You will never receive a transactional email without your action first. Otherwise, it's probably just a promotional email. It's a huge difference. This is not just valid for emails also, the same concepts apply to transactional SMS as well.

A transactional email WILL NOT have any promotion of new products or services, neither it can be for discounts or offers. Instead, it's a highly personalized email that will be valid for you only, since you just performed an action on a company's platform, and this is probably a receipt or summary of what you did or asked for.

This is the type of email you want to receive in your inbox, whether it be for updates or further process.

Now you might wonder, what exactly is a transaction?

What is a transaction?

A transaction is a specific action that you perform on a platform, because of which the company sends you the transactional email. It might sound like it's only related to monetary actions like a purchase you made, but that's not true. Don't be fooled by the definition given by Cambridge Dictionary

It's a variety of options including monetary transactions, creating a new account, changing the password, support query, triggers based on related events, in e-commerce it could be for an abandoned cart recovery attempt, confirming your order, shipping updates, etc.

What are the Types of Transactional Emails?

1. Receipt Emails

An invoice or a bill could be for a purchase you made on a platform, thus they're informing you about the transaction being successful, and giving you a receipt that would be useful to you for reference, and other purposes.

One example of this would be the email you receive from Amazon after placing an order.

Check out some examples of receipt emails at Pinterest.

2. Account Verification Emails

Once you go onto a new platform and you want to sign up there, they won't let you just enter any email address and claim the account, but instead, their setup includes sending you a verification or confirmation email that validates that you are the true owner of this mailbox.

This could usually be done by two methods:

  1. By providing a confirmation link in the email.
  2. By providing an OTP (One Time Password) in the email.

Check out these examples for verification emails.

3. Password reset emails

Now you have a new account, but you forgot the password so you're unable to log back in. You must've noticed a "Forgot your password?" button on pretty much every single Login page on the web. What that does is, once you click "Forgot your password?" it will ask you to enter your respective account email, on which the system will automatically send a transactional email to verify the authenticity of this request, once you approve the request by either clicking on the link in the email or entering the sent OTP, they let you change your password.

Here are some templates for password reset emails at ReallyGoodEmails

4. Policy update emails

Every online business has a specific dedicated page for their privacy policy and their fair use of terms, and other such legal documents, and whenever they tend to change any detail in any of these documents, they should update you as an account holder on their platform, about their new policy or the change they made to the terms of use of your data, or cookies consent for example.

See 8 companies privacy policy emails graded

5. Double opt-in emails

These are the type of emails that you will receive to confirm that you want to receive more emails from the platform. Confused? Let's understand from a developer-related example.

Assume you have an account on AWS (Amazon Web Services), a platform where you can host servers and your other infrastructure & resources. Now you can set up an alert there so that whenever a service goes down you will get notified. To confirm that you want to receive these emails AWS will send you a double opt-in email first to opt you in for the further emails it's about to send you.

A simpler example. This is hypothetical. Let's say you signup on a website on the likes of say Facebook, you create a new account. Facebook will show a few checkboxes asking you if you'd want to receive their marketing emails or promotional emails. You say "Yes", then Facebook will send you an email with a link through which you confirm that you want to receive those promotional emails.

This kind of double opt-in makes sure the email address is a verified user, and actually wants to receive these kinds of emails. This helps in preventing spam and leads to a healthy sender-reputation.

See examples here


Transactional emails are extremely important when it comes to user experience. Although it doesn't help you at all in gaining new customers but helps tremendously with retaining your existing customers and making their experience top-notch.

If your transactional emails are professional and contain very useful information, your customers will be enormously thankful to you, and this builds trust ad confidence in their minds for your brand.

If you don't have transactional emails setup for your business, there's a limited-time free offer over at

Follow me on Twitter @shubmakes


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