Your monthly broadband bill is the best way of keeping track of your contract payments. But it can contain a lot of information, which makes it hard to find the important stuff.
To help you know what to look for when you receive your broadband bill, we’ve outlined the five key things you should look out for. They might have an impact on your future costs. So the more aware you are of these details, the more money you could save.
Read on to learn the most important things to spot in your next broadband bill.
1. Your charges
It’s important to check the charges that make up your monthly bill. Depending on how many services you have bundled with your provider, there could be a few different payments that contribute to your total bill.
Your bill should show a breakdown of the cost of each service you pay for. Some of these services, such as a home phone package, could have different charges each month based on your usage.
So if you notice that your bill has increased slightly, it could be because you used one of your services more than normal. Or you may have used it in a way that could result in extra charges, such as international or daytime calls.
Keeping track of the changes in these payments can help you reduce your monthly cost going forward.
2. Monthly payment date
If you’ve only recently signed up to a broadband deal, you might not have had a chance to choose a payment date that suits your financial planning.
Many people time their bill payments around their payday, so they can clear their direct debits as soon as their wages come through. This can help you plan your finances for the rest of the month.
Your bill should clearly display the day of the month that it requires payment. It’s likely that you’ll be charged each month on or around the date that you signed up for your contract.
If that date ends up being quite inconvenient for you, you should be able to change it by speaking to your provider.
And if you do this with your other direct debits too, you can manage all your payments at the same time. This would help you enjoy the rest of the month virtually bill-free!
3. Contract end date
When you first signed up to your broadband deal, you should have been given the contract length before you made your purchase. However, it’s very easy to lose track of things like this. And your broadband bill may not make it clear how long you have left before your contract is up.
Some providers’ bills, such as BT’s, clearly display your contract end date under the product that you pay for. However, others don’t display it at all. If you can’t find yours on your bill, you should be able to visit your provider’s website and log into your account to find out. Alternatively, you can contact your provider’s customer service team.
It’s very important to keep note of your contract end date. Knowing when your fixed term period ends will mean you can switch to a new deal, or renew your contract, before being charged more expensive ‘out of contract’ prices.
Out of contract prices are what you’re charged once your contract end date has passed. Your provider will often increase your monthly bill once your contract has finished, because you’re no longer in a fixed-term agreement with them.
So if you want to avoid having your broadband prices increased significantly, you need to keep note of the right time to find a new deal.
4. Your contract terms
If there is a part of your deal that has ended up costing you more than you thought, you might be able to change it if you speak to your provider.
Most broadband contracts last between 12 and 24 months, which can be a long time to stick with something if you’ve realised it’s not fit for your needs. For example, if you’ve chosen a package with a certain data cap, but you end up going over the limit each month, that can be a costly commitment.
Your broadband bill will show you which part of your package is driving up your costs. Sometimes, providers let their customers change a certain part of their deal halfway through their contract. So if it turns out that you’ve been using a certain service too much, you might be able to upgrade that service to avoid being stung by additional fees in the future.
This would often require a higher monthly charge. But this will almost always be cheaper than paying a separate monthly fee for over-using your service.
5. End of contract notification
Towards the end of your contract, your provider will send you an end of contract notification.
These are emails or letters that a provider has to send to you a few weeks before your plan ends. They will contain three options that you can choose from:
- Re-contract to a new broadband deal with your existing provider
- Switch to a broadband deal from another provider (with 30 days’ notice)
- Cancel your contract (with 30 days’ notice)
We recommend you choose one of these options. If you don’t, you’ll likely be moved onto a much more expensive out of contract plan. This is where your monthly price could increase drastically, since you would have finished the fixed-term agreement with your provider. Uswitch has found that this increase could be up to 60% at times.
Bear in mind that providers want you to stay with them, so the options to switch or cancel might be buried under their own deals.
Just make sure to remember that you’re free to look elsewhere once you receive your end of contract notification.
If you're approaching the end of your broadband contract, try comparing broadband deals with Uswitch. You could find a new deal that suits you and your household a lot better.