How to avoid bill shock on your kids phone

Mobile bill much bigger than usual? It’s time to take control…
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How to avoid bill shock on your kids phone

Tips to reduce your child's mobile bill

It’s the stuff of nightmares for any budget-conscious parent. You open the monthly bill for your son or daughter’s phone as usual, but this time, something’s different. The hairs on the back of your neck stand up as you realise it’s a lot bigger than you expected, and you’re hit by the full force of bill shock.

It doesn’t have to be like that. Luckily, there are a number of ways that you can help your youngsters control their (or your) monthly mobile spend…

Put a cap on it

If your child has a pay monthly phone plan, they get a set amount of monthly allowances (calls, texts and data). You’ll be billed exactly the same each month, unless your wayward offspring uses up one of their monthly allowances. Because that’s when out-of-plan charges come into play, and they can quickly build up.

Most of the time you’ll find that data usage is the culprit. Streaming videos on YouTube or Netflix, or playing an online game like Fortnite can quickly become very expensive. The solution – if your network offers it - is capping.

As the name might suggest, capping lets you put a limit (or cap) on your monthly out-of-plan charges. Your network will alert you by text or email when the limit has been reached, and you’re then prevented from racking up any more charges on your phone. If you think this sounds like a good solution, ask your mobile network if you can get capping.

Go for Pay-as-you-go

Pay-as-you-go SIMs are a great way controlling your spend and avoiding any unwanted surprises. You simply slot one into your kids phone, and top it up with some credit. They’ll then be able to use that credit for calls, texts and data.

You can also buy Pay-as-you-go bundles of minutes, texts and data – these sometimes work out cheaper than topping up with credit, so it pays to shop around a little beforehand. For example, you can buy a £5 Pay-as-you-go SIM bundle from iD Mobile that comes with 100MB data, 125 call minutes and 500 texts.

The other big benefits of Pay-as-you go are that you don’t have to sign a contract, and you get the same network benefits as someone on a pay monthly deal.

Use an app to control data

As we’ve already said, a lot of the time unchecked data usage will be the villain behind your bill shock. So why not put some trust in your child, and give them a little help in controlling it themselves? My Data Manager (iOS and Android) will help them do this. They can easily set up data usage alarms and see which apps are using up most data. It’s a great way of helping them to control their data using their own initiative.

Pick the brain of the PSA

The PSA (Phone-paid Services Authority) is the UK regulator for content, goods and services that get charged to your phone bill. They’ve created a website called PhoneBrain, packed with top tips to avoid bill shock and educational videos that do a great job of explaining the costs of using a mobile phone. It’s well worth a look.

What do you think of our advice? Do you use any of these methods at the moment? Or do you have another way of stopping your little smashers giving you a nasty case of bill shock? Share your thoughts by posting a comment below.

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