What does your phone cost?

    It’s not just calls and texts you pay for through your phone. Find out about other ways you can use your phone to pay, and how to manage those costs

  • Phones

    Phones are like wallets

    Just like the cash in your pocket, phones can be used to pay for things.

    You don't hand over coins or notes but money is coming out of your phone.

    It does cost real money - you just don't see it.

    Charging the cost of something to your phone bill or credit is a popular way to pay.

  • Smart Phone

    Pay for what?

    Ever watched a talent contest on TV, asking you to call or text to vote for your favourite contestant? That's paid for by phone.

    Ever downloaded a free app or game but then texted to receive virtual items or go to the next level? That’s paid for by phone.

    What about entering a competition by texting a word to a short number? That's paid for by phone.

    If you call or text phone-paid services numbers or you charge something to your phone bill, rather than using a card or cash, it's paid for by phone.

  • Cogs

    How does it work?

    Phone-paid services numbers are:

    • short text numbers beginning with 6xxxx; 7xxxx; or 8xxxx
    • 0871 / 0872 / 0873
    • 09xx
    • 118 xxx
    • Sometimes used by apps as a way to pay
  • Question mark over money

    So what is the cost?

    On top of the call / text charge from your phone network charge, phone-paid services phone numbers have an extra cost. That’s because they’re not used to call and text friends - they are used as a way to pay for a service.

    Your phone network can tell you what the costs are for you.

  • Pile of money

    And, you can pay regularly

    Sometimes text services have ongoing, regular charges. It should always be made clear to you before you enter your mobile number, or text to sign up, whether it's a subscription, or a one-off.

  • Apps

    What about apps?

    Some apps are free to download and some apps you pay for through an app store.

    Even free apps sometimes have charges, for example to go to the next level, or to buy virtual items.

    Apps can send texts from your phone to pay for digital items you wish to pay for, such as credits used in game and unlocking new game levels.

  • Data costs

    Phones can collect your data

    Most things you do on your phone these days create a lot of useful data which can be shared with companies providing the services.

    If you pay for something by charging the cost to your phone bill or phone credit, the company involved has to ensure they don’t invade your privacy.

    For example, you shouldn’t be contacted unless you have agreed to it and they shouldn’t collect information from you that you don’t agree to.

    They also shouldn’t pass on your details to anyone else, unless it’s to offer you a refund.

  • Top tips

    Services and content on your phone are more fun when you know what you're getting and how much the costs are. Follow and remember our Top Tips.