Does your mobile phone bill vary from month to month? You may be paying for more services than you think. From in-app purchases to unwanted subscriptions, there are many hidden service charges that you might be unwittingly paying for. It’s important to go over your bill carefully each month to find out what exactly you’re paying for. The following are a few common charges to be on the lookout for. In many cases, they are completely avoidable.
One of the most common charges seen on any phone bill is the overage fee. If you don’t choose an unlimited plan, you’ll be charged for any extra minutes, text messages, or data usage. Not all providers offer unlimited data, so it’s best to shop around if you plan to use your smartphone extensively for surfing the web or running applications.
Roaming Charges when Travelling
Another time when you’ll be prone to extra fees is if you use your phone abroad. Even with an unlimited plan, your carrier could charge you an arm and a leg for any calls you make abroad. Data roaming is also a problem. Even if you don’t use your phone abroad, simply having it turned on could lead to international roaming fees. This could be compounded if you have any apps, because they may be connecting to local networks or consuming data without active use. Either turn your phone off completely, purchase an international plan from your provider, or think about purchasing a prepaid SIM card from a provider like Lebara which connects to a local number at your destination.
There’s a whole world of free apps to download. However, it’s important to be aware that even if there is no initial download charge for an app, there may be charges or fees later on. Games often allow users to play a few free sessions, but when the trial period ends you may have to pay. Apps may also allow you to pay to unlock higher quality features or access another level of a game. The cost for these privileges is not always crystal-clear, and can lead to a surcharge on your next phone bill. To prevent this from happening, you can often disable in-app purchases by going to the account settings section of your phone.
Subscription Services and Scams
Another reason why you might see mystery charges on your phone bill is due to a practice called “cramming.” This allows third parties to automatically sign you up for services like horoscopes, daily quotes, games, or ringtones unless you explicitly tell them to stop. This problem could pop up when you click on an unknown text message, vote on a television show via text, or respond to advertisements on your phone. To put a stop to cramming, text back “stop” to any unknown messages or call your service provider to cancel these subscriptions.
There is no one-size-fits-all way to lower your bills, but these are a few charges to be on the lookout for. Tactics such as using wireless Internet connections, avoiding in-app purchases, and looking at alternative plans like SIM only deals with Lebara when travelling can help you to lower bills and save a bundle. By taking the time to pore over your phone bill closely and take a hard look at the fine print, you can avoid these extra charges.