Pay as you go or one-month SIM only contract: what’s the difference?
Traditionally the term ‘pay as you go’ was used to refer to the system whereby consumers add credit to their phone on an ad-hoc, as-needed basis.
This was done by buying a top-up card or by ringing the network and paying by credit or debit card.
However, these days customers also use the term ‘pay as you go’ to refer to what are strictly speaking one-month rolling SIM only contracts that can be cancelled with 30 days' notice.
Thus the phrase 'pay as you go SIM only deals' was coined. And it's this type of contract that you'll find on this comparison page.
It’s not hard to see why 'pay as you go' and 'one month SIM only deals' have been conflated.
In many ways they’re quite similar and appeal to people for much the same reasons.
Like pay as you go top up cards, one-month SIM only deals don’t tie you in to lengthy contracts, so are a much more flexible way to pay for your calls, texts and minutes. And they’re both a pretty great option if you’re watching the pennies, too.
Looking for a 12-month SIM only instead? Head to our SIM only comparison page.
So what are pay as you go SIM only deals, exactly?
Pay as you go SIM only deals are short-term SIM only contracts that run for 30 days and give you an allowance of texts, calls and minutes to use in that period.
Pay as you go SIM only deals operate on a rolling-contract basis. That means that when the 30 days is up, the contract will automatically renew unless you contact your network provider to cancel or cancel online.
If you decide to cancel, you’ve got to give 30 days’ notice.
Why choose a pay as you go SIM-only deal?
One-month SIM only deals have a lot to offer. Here’s a précis of their main selling points:
- Seen a better deal? With one-month SIM only deals, you’re free to switch to a different contract or different provider with just 30 days’ notice.
- You’re less likely to run out of credit than if you’re having to remember to top up all the time. So you’ve got real peace of mind.
- The price you pay for calls, minutes and texts is much lower with SIM only deals than with pay as you go.
- Networks often reserve the best customer benefits for pay monthly customers. That category includes one-month SIM only deals, but doesn’t include pay as you go customers.
Which networks pay as you go SIM only deals?
From high-street names, such as EE and O2, to smaller networks, such as FreedomPop and Lebara, pretty much all major networks now offer pay as you go SIM only deals.
Looking for no-credit-check SIM only deals? Take a look at our pick of the best.