Skip to main content

Pay as you go mobile phones

Find a cheap pay as you go phone deal here

  • No long contracts. Top up when you need to
  • No credit check and only pay for what you use
  • Pay as you go phones from Samsung, Nokia and Sony
handset-6babcb529b handset-aacd7954e2 handset-66e47940f9 handset-0531c17a87 handset-004af82a81
Filter deals:
Filter deals
Sort by:
Featured deals
Total cost
skip filters
Filter deals
  • All networks
Only show 4G deals
Featured deals
Total cost
No deals found
We currently have no deals for that combination, please change the filters
Loading deals
Sorry, it's taking longer than we expected to load your deals
Front Back
Three Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S6 32GB Black Sapphire
Pay as you go

Three Mobile

£10.00 top up £469.99 phone

Total cost
Total cost
3 Direct See deal
Front Back
Three Mobile

Microsoft Lumia 535
Pay as you go

Three Mobile

£20.00 top up £69.99 phone

Total cost
Total cost
3 Direct See deal
If a deal is ‘featured’ on uSwitch’s tables, then it has been lent additional visibility as a result of us securing exclusivity on a great deal, or a commercial agreement to showcase what we believe to be market-leading value to consumers.

Our featured deals may not always be the cheapest option, but you can be sure you’re getting a fair price and competitive monthly allowance from a reputable provider.

uSwitch services are provided at no cost to you, but we may receive a commission from the companies we refer you to. To find out more about how our site works, click here.

Pay as you go phones can be a great choice for anyone who doesn't want to be tied in to a contract or who uses their phone sparingly.

Here, we take a look at the chief advantages and disadvantages of pay as you go (PAYG) to help you decide if it's right for you.

How do pay as you go deals work?

Sign up for a phone on a monthly contract and you'll pay a set fee every month for a pre-determined amount of texts, minutes and data.

The cost of the phone is then spread out over the course of the contract.

Opt to pay as you go, though, and you buy a handset outright. You're free to top up with credit when you want to or when you feel you need more.

Pay as you go customers can add credit by buying a voucher in a high-street store. Alternatively, they can call their network provider on a freephone number and pay for airtime directly with their credit card.

Pay as you go deals: why choose PAYG?

contract generic

Pay as you go mobile phones can offer a host of advantages over contract mobile phone deals.

- 1) No contract

When you choose a pay as you go mobile phone you're not tied into lengthy contract.

That means that if you’re not happy with the service you can walk away instantly.

By the same token, if a new cut-price tariff appears, you’re free to take advantage of it straightaway.

- 2) Freedom to upgrade

Just as important as freedom from contracts is the freedom to upgrade your pay as you go mobile phone whenever you like.

This is in contrast to some 24-month contract deals when a mobile phone is often out of date by the time you've finished paying for it.

- 3) You won't be paying for minutes and data you don't need

Arguably the biggest reason for opting for a pay as you go mobile phone is that you only pay for the calls you make.

That means you won’t suffer the frustration of feeling like you’ve wasted money when you’re left with lots of unused minutes and texts at the end of the month. Or that you’ve paid for a service which you barely make use of.

This makes pay as you go mobile phones a brilliant option for users who do not require hundreds of minutes of talk time every month, but need a mobile phone so they can be reached by their friends and family.

- 4) Easy to track how much you're spending

Another advantage with pay as you go mobile phones is that you know exactly how much you’re spending on mobile phone calls, texts and other services.

That means that you can cut down on your usage accordingly if you’re overspending.

- 5) You won't paying a high price for your handset

Pay as you go phones can now be bought for as little as £5.

Consequently, they are an excellent choice for people who do not feel they need the high-tech functions that feature on more expensive models.

Pay as go mobile phones you versus contract mobile phones

iphone businessman generic

Unfortunately, call and data charges and tariffs tend to be higher with pay as you go phones than with contract mobile phones, so you can often pay much more for making the same call.

There is also the disadvantage that pay as you go phones require that you buy the mobile phone outright. This means that your initial costs are higher than if you were signing up for a contract.

Furthermore, pay as you go mobile phone owners can run a higher risk of running out of credit than consumers who have opted a contract mobile phone deal.

Adding credit to pay as you go mobile phones

sim cards colours

Topping up with a voucher will typically require the owner of the pay as you go phone to make a free phone call to their network and enter a specially generated number.

The newly purchased airtime will then be added to their pay as you go mobile phone instantly, allowing them to make calls and send texts straightaway.

Some networks that offer pay as you go mobile phones apply a time limit during which time the customer must use up the airtime they have added, while others stipulate a cut-off time after which point the voucher becomes invalid.

However, some carriers do not impose time limits on pay as you go mobile phone usage at all.

Once owners of pay as you go phones run out of airtime, they will need to top up again.

Until such time as they add credit to their pay as you go mobile phone, they will still be able to receive calls though.

Pay as you go customers who don't have credit are usually also able to pick up voicemails, although this varies between providers.

Not what you're looking for? Compare all the latest free mobile phone deals here: free mobile phones