Call Costs

Access charges

These are charged per minute by your provider to connect your call. Since the introduction of the regulations, each provider sets the same access charge for calls to all types of 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers.

Also, the time of day you call doesn’t dictate the access charge – it’s the same rate regardless. The only time this may be relevant is if you have a home phone package withinclusive calls at certain times that covers 0870/0845 numbers.

If you don’t have such a package, or if you’re calling outside your call plan or from a mobile, here’s a breakdown of the access charge for each one:

Access charges for calls to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers
BT (i) 10.24p/minute 30p/minute
Co-op 7.2p/min 21p/min
EE (ii) 11p/minute 44p/minute
O2 N/A 45p/minute
Plusnet 9.58p/minute N/A
Post Office 9.5p/minute 30p/minute
Sky 11.5p/minute N/A
SSE 6.9p/minute N/A
TalkTalk 7.5p/minute 25p/minute
Three N/A 45p/minute
Virgin Media 10.25p/minute 36p/minute (iii)
Vodafone 9.5p/minute 45p/minute
Table correct as of 1 December 2015. (i) BT says customers on its low-income tariff will not pay the access charge for any call. (ii) Includes Orange and T-Mobile re mobile access charge. (iii) Certain Sim-only and ‘Freestyle’ Virgin Mobile plans will include calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers as part of their allowance.

Service charges

These are charged by the organisation you’re trying to call – they must clearly state the charge wherever they advertise or promote these numbers. If you see an 084, 087, 09 or 118 number advertised without the service charge clearly displayed alongside, consider reporting it to the Advertising Standards Authority (or PhonepayPlus if it’s a number with a service charge of more than 7p/min or 7p/call).

Ofcom has capped service charges at 7p/minute for numbers beginning with 084 and 13p/minute for those beginning with 087. Calls to 09 numbers can cost up to £6/call or £3.60/min, depending on how they are charged, while there’s no service charge cap on 118 numbers.

Service charges will vary greatly, so make sure you always check carefully what they’ll be before calling. If it isn’t clear, try to get in touch with the company’s customer service department by email. In any case, the rate shouldn’t be more than the caps mentioned above.