Costly mobile phone contracts are pushing more people into debt, according to National Debtline.
Calls to the charity about telephone debts have jumped 150% since 2007, often as a result of expensive contracts for smart phones. The service has received more than 4000 calls for help with phone debts in the first three months of this year alone.
So here are three golden rules to keep the cost of your mobile under control.
1. Check the data allowance
Most tariffs include a data allowance of between 100MB and 1GB – and if you exceed the allowance, you start to rack up charges at an alarming rate. But even plans that offer unlimited data can prove costly. Most unlimited plans are not in fact truly unlimited. Instead, they are subject to a so-called ‘fair usage’ policy, so you could be stung for charges if you exceed a limit of about 500MB.
2. Think before you call
Dominic Baliszewski of BroadbandChoices.co.uk says: “Most tariffs come with a generous inclusive calls allowance to landlines and mobiles, but once this runs out they can cost upwards of 77p a minute, or more than £7.50 for a 10 minute call.” So, try to minimise costs by keeping your calls to other mobile phones on the same network as these are usually the cheapest.
3. Take care when travelling abroad
The European Commission has recently announced legislation to curb roaming charges on mobile phones, but the caps do not apply outside the EU.
Naomi Caine was editor of The Sunday Times Money section for six years before she moved out of London to bring up a young family. She now juggles two children with a freelance career, and has written for a variety of publications, including MSN, Yahoo, The Times, The Sunday Times, Which? Money, Money Week and The Sunday Herald.