Paying for Mobile Purchases

Smartphones and tablets can be used to pay for downloadable or other content, sometimes with the payment appearing on the phone bill at the end of the month rather than going to a card. In this way, mobile devices are effectively like credit cards, and so the same amount of caution needs to be applied to avoid ending up with unwanted charges to repay.

The risks

  • Calling premium numbers, which cost more than most regular landline numbers. You may also see “mobile networks may vary” or “plus network extras” stated in relation to the number – the cost of making calls may be different for each phone provider.
  • Using shortcodes, for example when entering a competition, which carries a premium-rate cost. This could lead to you receiving further text messages that you do not want and which may be charging you.
  • Downloading apps that offer a ‘trial’ or ‘free subscription’, then incur fees after the prescribed trial phase.
  • Infection by malware (just like a computer, smartphones and tablets are vulnerable to viruses and malware attacks, including those which dial premium-rate numbers).

Staying in control of costs

  • Check with your phone network what they charge on top of making a premium-rate call or sending a premium-rate text.
  • Query any mystery numbers on your phone bill with your phone network.
  • Always check your phone bill carefully and look out for numbers you do not recognise and calls you did not make.
  • Be careful about what you click on – always read the terms and conditions in full.