In an age of direct debits and paperless billing, it can be hard to keep track of mobile phone bills.
And in the age of lockdown, it can be hard to keep track of how much we’re using our handsets.
The internet has been an umbilical cord over the last year, but the amount of time spent online isn’t necessarily healthy for us – or our bank balances.
People on mobile phone contracts may have noticed their monthly bills incurring extra costs of late.
If your mobile bill is higher than expected, it could simply be an error at the network provider’s side.
It’s not uncommon for new contracts to contain mistakes which lead to overcharging, for instance.
However, if your mobile bill is higher than expected without a clear and obvious error being responsible, these are some of the other likely causes…
Data or calls overuse
This is particularly likely at present, since many of us are guilty of unlocking our phones and repeatedly looking at certain sites or apps, almost as an automatic act.
However, every refresh of BBC News or Twitter consumes more data, while multimedia platforms like YouTube and Instagram stealthily munch through data allowances.
And despite generous mobile talk time contracts, you could incur costs by travelling abroad, calling and texting foreign numbers, or ringing premium-rate 084/087/09/118 numbers.
Charities have been struggling during the last year, and many are simplifying the process of donating by allowing people to transfer funds via text.
It’s easy to forget you pledged £10 or £20 while watching an advert or fundraising programme – until your next monthly bill comes through.
If your bill is a neat sum of money higher than you’d expect, check recent text messages for confirmations of donations you may have made and instantly forgotten about.
Regrettably, smartphone fraud is still prevalent, and it can be one of the main reasons why a mobile bill is higher than expected.
Log into your account if the next bill seems unreasonably steep, and look through recent billing activity for suspicious purchases or unauthorised calls.
If you think you’ve been a victim of mobile fraud, contact your network operator with any evidence about why this activity seems suspicious.
The start or end of a contract
Although mobile phone contracts are generally standardised, there may be instances where an additional charge is incurred at the beginning or end of a contract.
You may have to pay more due to a number of reasons. An initial bill could include up to nine extra days alongside the normal monthly charge, while accessories may have been billed, too.
There might also be additional charges at the other end of a contract period, such as if you’re looking to close an account before the contracted term is over.