How to save money on your phone bill

Everything you need to redial your phone bill, including how to save money and what happens if you do not pay on time. (Getty Images)

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, consumers want to save money wherever they can, and phone bills are often an area where savings can be made.

It is common for mobile networks to increase their bills annually with inflation, but sometimes they raise their prices further.

For example, in February 2022, Virgin Media increased its bills by 11.7%, despite the fact that RPI inflation was 7.8%

Most contracts include an annual invoice increase in the terms, but they must give customers at least one month’s notice before doing so and offer the right to terminate the contract prematurely without penalty.

We look at how to save on your mobile phone and landline phone bills and what to do if you can not pay your bill on time.

Tips for saving on mobile bills

1. Check if your contract has expired

Telephone agreements normally last for 12, 18 or 24 months before they are renewed automatically.

If your first contract has been terminated and you feel you are paying too much, it can save a lot of money in the future if you leave for a better deal, according to Ofcom.

Contracts that are not “sim-only” include the cost of the new phone. If you have reached the end of a contract and are happy with your phone, you should switch to a sim-only deal to avoid paying much more than you need.

Scroll through offers

By going through offers on comparison sites like Money Supermarket, Uswitch and Mobile Phones Direct, you can look through contracts, SIM-only subscriptions and mobile phones to find one that is within your price range.

MoneySavingExpert.com has a useful guide for finding a new contract on a budget.

Ask your current supplier if they can match the price of another company

Ofcom says that if you do not have a contract, there is a good chance that you pay too much.

A spokesman for the regulator said: “By spending as little as five minutes on the phone to your network, you can save hundreds of pounds.”

It has a list of questions that you can ask your supplier to try to get a better deal.

Get the most out of Wi-Fi

One of the most common ways that people end up paying extra fees on their invoice is to use going over their data extension, with apps like YouTube, Facebook, Skype and TikTok using a lot of data.

An easy way to avoid going over your compensation is by taking advantage of Wi-Fi at home and in public spaces.

If you find that you do not normally use your full compensation, you can try to find a new contract with less data that costs less each month.

5. Get a roof on your behalf

You can ask your network for a ceiling so that you can not go over the calls, text messages and data agreed in your contract.

However, this does not cover other services that are charged by your provider and that are not mobile services, such as fees for paper invoices or fees for late payments.

6. Consider a pay as you go SIM

Martin Lewis’ website MoneySavingExpert.com recommends a pay as you go sim if you do not use calls, text messages and data much over the course of a year.

However, they are more expensive for “medium to heavy” users.

7. Double check that your invoice is correct

Companies sometimes make mistakes when it comes to fees, so it is important to double check each invoice.

If you discover an error, you should contact your network immediately and if it is not resolved within eight weeks, you can contact an ombudsman to investigate.

The National Debt Helpline states that if you discover an error on your invoice from a third party company, you should contact them directly. For example, if you are charged the wrong amount for a TV contest you participated in.

8. Replace your old phone

Many providers have systems that allow you to upgrade early or cover the cost of your next invoice if you shop with an old device, including O2, Virgin Media, EE and Three.

Ofcom says it's best to let your provider know if you're having a hard time paying a bill.  (Getty Images)

Ofcom says it’s best to let your provider know if you’re having a hard time paying a bill. (Getty Images)

What does a phone bill show?

If you have a mobile phone contract, you will receive a monthly invoice showing three things:

1. Your standard monthly fee agreed when you registered.

2. Additional fees from your provider, for example if you went over your data surcharge.

Partial fees, such as the upfront cost of delivering your device or fees from third-party apps.

Invoices can be sent by post or displayed online if you have an account and most providers also have a number that you can text to see your remaining compensation or extra fees.

Do telephone bills count as electricity bills?

Officially, fixed telephone bills issued by telephone companies are counted as electricity bills, but mobile phone bills do not.

Gov.uk states that mobile phone invoices can not be used as proof of identity because it is possible to send them to different addresses, unlike traditional phone bills.

It is recommended that you use electricity bills such as gas, electricity and landlines instead.

What happens if you do not pay a phone bill on time?

If you miss a payment for your mobile phone bill, your account will likely be in arrears.

This means that your telephone service can be disconnected and that you will not be able to receive calls and text messages until the outstanding debt has been paid.

EE has warned that they can also add a termination fee to your account and forward customer information to a debt collection agency, which can add their own fees to collect the debt.

But Ofcom says it is best to let your provider know that you will miss a payment before it reaches this stage.

In this way, they may be able to offer you options, such as being able to pay the debt over time, change the billing date or change the payment method.

Will your phone bill affect your credit rating?

Using a credit or debit card can also affect what happens after a missed payment.

James Jones, Head of Consumer Affairs at Experian, said: “Taking out a new mobile phone agreement can reduce your credit score for a while, like any new credit agreement. Monthly phone contracts are routinely included in credit reports and, if paid on time, can help you build a good credit rating. “

But he also said that “it is important to make payments on time because a missed payment can negatively affect your score”.

“Before applying for a new financial account, it is worth checking your credit report and score first to make sure there are no problems.”

Can you claim the cost of your phone bill on tax?

It is possible to claim expenses on your mobile phone bill under certain circumstances.  (Getty Images)

It is possible to claim expenses on your mobile phone bill under certain circumstances. (Getty Images)

If you are self-employed, you have the right to claim expenses on your mobile phone, but only for the business costs.

For example, if your mobile phone bill for the year was £ 300 and you spent £ 230 on personal use and £ 70 on business use, you can only claim back £ 70 in business expenses.

On the other hand, if you are the director of a corporation, you can claim expenses on all work phone bills, as long as only one mobile was given to each employee.

HMRC believes that the entire cost of bills is allowed in tax, given that the contact is kept in the company’s name and commercial bank account.

If you do not meet the tax deduction criteria, there are a number of other methods that experts recommend to reduce your bill.

There are ways to save on your phone bill during the cost of living crisis.  (Getty Images)

There are ways to save on your phone bill during the cost of living crisis. (Getty Images)

What about landlines?

There are also ways to save on your home phone.  (Getty Images)

There are also ways to save on your home phone. (Getty Images)

Home phone bills work slightly differently than cell phones because they are usually bundled in broadband packages.

But there are still several ways to save money on your landline phone.

1. Check if your contact has ended.

Just like with your mobile, you can leave your current contract if you do not have a contract for a better deal without paying a penalty.

Do some research to find the best deals.

Using comparison sites like BroadbandDeals.co.uk and Uswitch, you can browse hundreds of broadband deals to see if you can find a better one.

Ask your current supplier if they can match the price of another company.

Money Saving Experts Martin Lewis recommends bargaining to get a better deal from your existing provider.

For example, you can also ask them what offers they give to new customers.

4. See if you are entitled to a discount.

Ofcom claims that 4.2 million people at Universal Credit can halve their bills by taking advantage of special discounted packages available.

BT, Virgin Media, Community Fiber, G.Network, Hyperoptic and KCOM all have discounts for people who receive certain benefits.

5. If you are not using it, consider removing your landline phone.

According to a study by Uswitch, 40% of Britons no longer use their landline.

If you pay for a landline phone that you do not use, you can talk to your provider about getting rid of it.

If you do not want to lose your broadband, several providers offer wireless broadband options, including Virgin Media, EE and BT.

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