Why have I been charged?
Phone payment is a popular and effective way of paying for a wide range of content goods and services. These can include music subscriptions, gaming, donations to charity and voting on TV talent shows. You should not be charged for any phone-paid service without your consent.
So, I can be charged without entering my bank details?
The short answer is, yes, you can. Your phone is billed monthly, based on the network tariff and also on data usage, and any content, goods and services you purchase. It's a payment account in its own right: think of it like a credit card.
This means that when you use the internet, make calls, download apps from an app store, use games and send higher rate texts on your phone, you can make additional charges to your bill on top of standard network charges. This can be a seamless and convenient way to pay for things you want, but if you aren't aware that you've made a phone payment, it can be confusing.
Watch what you click on
Be careful of pop-up ads, buttons, and other promotions when browsing the internet, especially on a phone. Look out for the Ts & Cs. Not everything is free and some purchases can involve recurring charges.
Don't ignore texts from service providers
Service providers are required to contact you to inform you of any charges. These messages aren't spam! It's important to read them and understand them. Also bear in mind: you can text the service provider to stop charges, but don't just hit reply. Text 'STOP ALL' to the number which they give you.
Contact your mobile network
Your Mobile Network Operator can provide you with information about unexpected charges. They can also put a bar on your account for all forms of phone-paid services. Be aware, however, that this might prevent you from engaging with phone-paid services that you do want, such as in-app purchases, voting on TV talent shows, or donating to charity by text.
Treat your phone like a credit card
Your phone bill can be used to pay for things. This can be very convenient – like a charity text donation or a music streaming service. But it can also lead to unexpected extra charges, so be aware.
Be careful when looking for customer helplines
You can sometimes be connected to popular helplines for major companies or government services via a third party. Check the website that you’re using and don’t necessarily use the first number that comes up from a web search. We have strict rules in place for these services, and they must make it clear that they are a third party. Learn more about customer helplines.
Know your numbers
Be aware that numbers starting 09, 087, 070 and 118 are charged at premium rates. Check the call tariffs before dialling and use an alternative number if you want to keep your phone bill down.
Take care when handing your smart phone or tablet to children
Especially if they’re young. They may incur unexpected charges without realising. The PSA has created Phonebrain for children and their carers to learn more about phone payment and how to avoid unexpected charges.
Take a look at other content on the PSA website to learn more about phone-paid services and how they work. Knowledge is power!