Home phone bills - what are you paying for?

Home phone bills - what are you paying for?

Home phone bills can be hard to understand, especially since they include so many features and services now. How do you spot what’s right and wrong? What are you actually paying for? This guide will show you common things to look out for, and where you could potentially save money on your home phone bill…

Personal details

There’s always a section that includes your name, account number, phone number, a bill reference number and the bill date. But do check those details regularly: credit reference agencies can use phone providers’ records to help keep your credit score up to date, so it’s important that information is all correct. Read more about keeping a good credit score.

Payment details

Your bill or statement will also show your current balance. That’s how much you owe, and what and when you need to pay that amount to the phone company.

If you pay by Direct Debit then it will show the date a payment should be taken from your bank. If you don’t pay by Direct Debit it’ll show the date you need to make your payment by.

Confused about Direct Debits? This article will help.

The important bit: line rentals, tariffs and packages
Every ‘landline’ bill splits out into different parts. You’ll pay a small amount to rent the physical cable that runs to your house. That money pays for getting the line to you, and maintaining it. It’ll be somewhere around £10 to £20 per month, depending on who your supplier is.

  • Top moneysaving tip: some phone companies offer a deal in which you pay for a year’s line rental in advance. There’s usually a good discount for taking that option.

Then there’s a charge for your tariff or package. This will usually include the cost of any broadband services and internet TV (if you have it), and any ‘inclusive’ calls. Inclusive calls are the free calls you get – perhaps during the evenings and at weekends. What’s important to remember, is that those calls aren’t ‘free’, you do pay for them in the price of the package.

  • Top moneysaving tip: keep a note of when you’re using the phone most. Check you previous bills, look for patterns. Now – do you really need the inclusive calls you’ve chosen, or is there a cheaper package that offers a different ‘free calls’ option?

Extra charges

Calls may show on your bill as an itemised list – this is a handy way to keep track of who you’re calling and how much it costs. Your provider should make it clear which phone calls aren’t included in the package you have.

  • Top moneysaving tip: look through that bill again. Are you making lots of ‘premium number calls’ that aren’t included in a standard package? If your provider offers an option to include those for a flat monthly fee, it may work out cheaper. 

If you have broadband in your package, and it’s limited, then it should be easy to see how extra you’ve spent. Keep an eye on how many films you’re downloading or how much music or video you’re streaming.

Extra ways to save money on your home phone bill

  • Check your bill. Are you being billed for something you didn’t sign up for? Have you been overcharged? A quick call to customer services should solve that problem.
  • Check the calls you’ve made. Remember, if you have inclusive daytime calls but don’t make many of them, it may be cheaper to look for a different package.
  • Go ‘paperless’. Sign up for paperless billing: most providers will charge now, to send out a ‘hard copy’ of your bill.
  • Look into Direct Debits. Some phone companies add a charge if you don’t pay by Direct Debit. Avoid the charges and never miss a payment with a Direct Debit.

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