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How to Find the Best PAYG Plan

30th January 2014

Pay as you go (PAYG) plans are based on credit accounts that you can “top-up” as needed. This gives you more control over your bill, and allows you to avoid any extra fees. If you realise you aren’t using your phone to make a lot of phone calls, switching to a PAYG contract can save you a lot of money.

With a PAYG account, there are no monthly minimum fees. You may be required to have a minimum amount of money in your account to have your phone activated from month to month, but you aren’t charged anything if you don’t use your phone. In fact, if you have less than the required amount, it may stay there until you top it up again, and reactivate your phone.

Because of this arrangement, you can also be assured that you won’t receive any nasty surprises, because you never receive a bill. You can’t be charged for exceeding your allotted time, because your phone simply won’t make or receive calls until you top-up your account again. Depending on your plan, you may still be able to text for the rest of the month.

You are also free of any obligation. There is no contract, so you can leave whenever you want, and come back if and when you want to.

This type of plan is appealing to many people because it also doesn’t require a credit check, and is available to those under 18 years of age.

  • If you find you don’t talk on your phone more than a few hundred minutes a month, a PAYG account may very well be the best choice for you.
  • If you tend to text a lot more than talking on the phone, a PAYG account may be right for you.
  • If you do want feature phone and smartphone capabilities, but don’t want to be tied into a contract, a PAYG plan may also be a good choice.

The pay as you go plan is a simple procedure:

  1. Pick a PAYG phone. You’ll have to buy this before you start your account. A wide range of models are available, but may be limited by your provider. If you’re in this for the cheap end of things, a simple mobile can be had for as low as £6 (or less). If you are interested in a high end smartphone and plan on using it regularly, you may want to consider a contract or Sim-only plan instead.
  2. Add credit to your account. Make sure it is topped up to get it launched, and you’re set to go. Check with your provider to see what options are available for internet access and data transfer.
  3. Use your account as you wish, until you can’t. Some accounts will offer you a flat rate per minute, while others will give you a block of minutes for your credit payment. Data rates can vary from carrier to carrier, so make sure you know the details before you burn up too much time online.
  4. Each carrier will also offer their own ways to refill your account as well, but you can be assured, you will have plenty of options. You usually can pay at store fronts, kiosks, through your phone or online, and more options as well. You can wait until the end of the month to top-up your account again, or you can add money to it at any time, as needed.

As far as which network to choose, do your homework. Besides the major mobile networks (O2, Orange, 3, T-Mobile and Vodafone), check with the virtual providers such as Virgin, Tesco, Asda and Talkmobile. These companies often offer very cheap plans.

Realise that you do have to pay full price for a phone up front, and will be charged more per minute on a PAYG plan then you would with a contract plan. This is really a plan for those who don’t plan on using their phone a lot, are young or have bad credit. 

Corey is an all round tech guru who has worked at some major blue chip companies. He started Poweronemedia to share his views and knowledge with the rest of the blogging world.