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Help if you’re struggling to pay your mobile phone, TV or broadband bills

What to do if you’re struggling to pay your mobile phone bill

If you don’t have a landline or broadband, your mobile phone is a vital connection to other services, so it’s important to keep it if you can.

This might be your first experience of struggling to pay a bill. Remember that it’s important to keep up with your payments. This isn’t just so you don’t lose your connection, but also because it could affect your credit score if you don’t.

If you need help, contact your provider as soon as possible to explain the situation.

Many providers have support in place to help you, including:

  • changing your bill date
  • setting up an affordable repayment plan
  • moving to a different tariff
  • lowering your spending cap.

It’s best to only use your phone when you need to.

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Switching to a cheaper tariff

If you’re on a mobile phone contract, you might be able to move to a cheaper pay-as-you go tariff or sim-only deal. But find out first if you have to pay a fee to end your contract early.

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Support if you’re struggling to pay phone bills

If your income has dropped during the contract term, you might not be able to afford your mobile phone bill.

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What to do if you’re struggling to pay your broadband bill

If you need help, contact your provider as soon as possible and explain your situation. They might be able to help you out, such as:

  • changing your bill date
  • setting up an affordable repayment plan
  • moving to a different tariff
  • removing data caps on fixed broadband services.

You might also be able to buy packages that include data boosts at low prices, or free landline phone calls.

If you're vulnerable or self-isolating, and your provider can’t make priority repairs in your home,  they should make sure you have alternatives to broadband or a landline.

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Broadband and mobile social tariffs

Some providers offer low-cost plans to help you make mobile calls and get online if you’re getting certain benefits, including: 

  • Universal Credit 
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit  
  • Employment and Support Allowance  

To find out more, go to the Ofcom website

Broadband and social tariff providers

Provider
Areas served
Price
Speed
Who’s it for?

UK-wide

£15 a month

Around 36 Mbit/s

Various benefits (in and out of work)

UK-wide

£20 a month

Around 67Mbit/s

Various benefits (in and out of work

London area

£10 a month

10Mbit/s

Various benefits (in and out of work)

Check for coverage in your area

£15 a month

50Mbit/s

Various benefits (in and out of work

Check for coverage in your area

£25 a month

150Mbit/s

Various benefits (in and out of work

Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

£19.99 a month

30 Mbit/s

Various benefits (in and out of work)

UK-wide

£15 a month

15/Mbit/s

Universal Credit

UK-wide

£10 a month

Limitless calls and texts (5G where available

Various benefits (out of work)

The above table was correct as of Oct 2021. Source: Ofcom

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Free broadband if you’re a jobseeker

If you’re looking for work, you can apply through your work coach for a voucher to exchange for free broadband from connectivity provider TalkTalk. 

The voucher allows you to get six months of TalkTalk’s Fibre 35 broadband service with no contract or credit check required. Data usage limits are uncapped (within the fair data usage limits). 

After six months, you can choose to roll onto a contract with TalkTalk or cancel the service. Whatever you choose to do, there will be no cancellation costs or sign-up fees.

Shopping around for broadband services

When shopping around for low-cost tariffs, it’s worth comparing the internet speed against the cost of the tariff. Cheaper tariffs might mean it takes longer to download documents, videos, games or films.

You can also compare these costs against the cheaper sim-only or pay-as-you-go deals which will give you more data and faster connections. Or you can use your mobile phone’s hotspot to transfer data to a computer or tablet if you need to access the internet.

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What to do if you’re struggling to pay your TV subscriptions

BT Sport and Sky Sports allowed customers to apply for a pause in paying subscriptions while there was no live sport during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, with football, golf and snooker returning in June, payment for subscriptions will restart, unless you have an individual package for a sport that hasn’t resumed.

If you don’t think you can afford to pay, contact your provider as soon as possible and explain your situation. Many providers can help if your finances have been affected by coronavirus.

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Your circumstances might mean you can get a lower price from your TV provider.

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What to do if you’re struggling to pay other subscription services

If you can’t afford services such as Netflix or Spotify, you might be able to cancel them without being charged a penalty. Check the terms of your contract.

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Next steps if you’ve missed a payment

If you’ve missed a payment on your broadband, phone or TV subscription, contact your lender to explain your situation.

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When to get debt advice

Have you already missed more than one payment and are not able to come to an agreement with your provider? Then it’s best to get advice as soon you can, especially if you’ve got other debts as well.

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Extra support if you’re struggling financially and with your mental wellbeing

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Experiencing mental health problems might make it difficult for you to manage your money.

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Remember, if you’re struggling financially and with your mental wellbeing, it’s worth getting in contact with your bank, building society, lender or whoever you owe money to, to discuss your options.

However, contaction someone to talk about your problems is often easier said than done when you’re struggling with your mental health.

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Most organisations that you owe money to have policies to help support you if you’re vulnerable. But they can’t help you unless you are able to ask.

For some general tips on how you can manage your mental health check out Rethink’s guide. It covers everything from setting a budget to getting help if you, or someone you care about, is having a mental health crisis.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free, impartial help for all your money and pension choices. Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free, impartial help for all your money and pension choices. Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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