The hidden costs of phone plans uncovered

Is your contract keeping you out of pocket? Find out...

01 Jan 1990

Saving money feels great. That’s just a fact. What doesn’t feel so great? Being stung with a load of costs you didn’t sign up for. Some of the worst offenders for this are phone plans. How can you stay money smart when it comes to your phone? Watch out for these nasty surprises…

 

Paying way more than the price of your phone

This is one of the biggest drawbacks of a traditional 24-month or ‘phone-with-plan’ deals. You want the latest handset, but you can’t afford to pay for it outright. So instead you go for a phone-with-plan where the cost of your phone is split up and added onto your plan. Sounds perfect, right?

The only thing is that in most of those phone-with-plan deals, you’re not just splitting the cost of the phone. The network’s also adding a load of interest on top, sometimes with an APR as high as 50%![1] So if you’re getting a £1000 phone, you could end up paying £1500 by the time your plan ends.

And most of the time you won’t be told about that APR upfront. So you don’t realise you’ve overpaid until it’s too late!

 

How to fix it

 If you want to check how much hidden APR there is with your current or a future plan, this article has a really great hidden APR calculator.

Or you can get your next phone somewhere that’s transparent about what you’re paying. If you buy a plan with us, we cost your phone and your SIM separately.

Plus, you can buy your phone upfront or pay in instalments- whichever works for you. And if you’re paying in instalments, it’s you that’s in control. Choose how much you want to pay upfront, over how long and what amount each month. You can even pay it off early if you like!

 

Still paying for a phone you don’t want or can’t use

Woman looking sad holding a phone.

Okay so maybe you don’t mind paying extra for a phone you still use. But what if you want to upgrade to the latest iPhone? Or, even worse, what if it breaks? It’s bad news, we’re afraid.

If you’re locked into a 24-month phone-with-plan, you’re just that- locked in. You’ll need to keep paying the same price every month for the rest of the plan… effectively paying for a phone you can’t use!

 

How to fix it 

Keep your phone and your SIM separate, that way you won’t be stuck when your old phone’s not for you anymore. And if you know you’ve just got to have the latest phone every year, you can pay for your current phone over one year rather than two.

 

Being charged for emojis

This isn’t the case with every phone or every network. And if you use Whatsapp or any other online messaging platform you won’t need to worry. But if you look at your phone bill and see you’re being charged for picture messages you don’t remember sending, that smiley face might be the culprit!

This is because sometimes emojis are converted into image files on certain phones. And while text messages are often included as part of your plan, picture messages might not be.

 

How to fix it

The simple answer? Keep an eye on your next bill! If you see picture messages you weren’t expecting, think about moving to an online messaging app or just ditching the emojis all together.

 

Getting a phone plan with more or less than you need

A woman holding a phone with a thumbs down

According to Which, phone users are losing a massive £5.4bn every year. Or to break it down, about £159 per person. How? By paying for text, minutes and data they don’t use or by paying extra when they go over their plan’s allowance.[2]

If you’re just using your phone for Whatsapping or the odd bit of online shopping, chances are you don’t need to be paying for loads of data. On the flip side, if you love streaming movies or gaming on your commute, you’re going to need a tariff that takes that into account. Otherwise you might get charged a fortune for going over your data allowance.

 

How to fix it

This tool from USwitch is a handy way to calculate how much mobile data you might need, based on how you use your phone. Or you could have a chat with one of our colleagues in-store. We’ll ask you about your usage, to help you find the SIM and network that works best for you.

 

Losing paper on paper bills

Yup, that’s right. Lots of networks actually charge you if you get your phone bill delivered in the post. BT, for example, charges £3 per bill!

 

How to fix it

Luckily there’s an easy fix for this one. Just give your network provider a ring or change your settings in your online account and you should be able to switch to digital copies.

 

We’re not into hidden costs. That’s why all our plans are see-through- from the phone to the SIM to any accessories you want to add. See how we can save you from phone regret

 


[1] https://www.theguardian.com/money/2018/sep/23/mobile-phone-bundle-deals-overcharge-costs

[2] https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/hidden-cost-mobile-phone-contract-bills/

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