Mobile Contracts for People on Benefits

Wondering whether you can get a phone contract whilst on Universal Credit? Or are you struggling to meet the costs of your mobile bill and need to find a cheaper alternative when your current contract expires? There are some broadband providers who have special contracts for those claiming financial support. However, if you’re on benefits and looking for a cheap mobile phone contract there’s currently only a single network offering a similar deal.

VOXI for Now: the mobile phone plan for people on benefits

If you’re receiving any of the following government benefits:

  • Jobseeker’s allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Disability allowance
  • Personal independence payment

VOXI allows you to sign up for Unlimited 5G-ready data, calls and texts for £10 a month, with the option to change, pause or cancel the contract at any time.

The VOXI For Now plan is available for a maximum of six months to anyone who can prove they’re eligible. After that time the contract switches over to a standard £10 a month plan which includes unlimited calls, texts and social media (rather than unlimited data).

If you’d like to connect up your laptop to your phone to piggyback off its mobile data signal (known as ‘tethering’) you would be able to do this with the VOXI For Now unlimited data contract. 

Remember though, this would only really be suitable for light use such as emailing or browsing the internet rather than downloading large files or streaming. A mobile phone should never be considered a substitute for a broadband router.

What is the cheapest mobile network?

While VOXI is the only dedicated plan for those on benefits there are lots of cheap mobile phone contracts available to keep costs down.

You could pay even less than £10 a month with a bit of browsing. For this price though, you may find you have to compromise on your data, calls and texts and you will be charged extra if you accidentally go over your monthly allowance.

There are some good options for rolling monthly, SIM Only deals and you can make use of some generous allowances on data, UK minutes and texts. The likes of Lebara even bundle in some international minutes.

Here are some examples of cheap mobile phone contracts currently on offer for £5 or less per month.

Lebara (£3.90 a month)

  • Includes 1GB Data
  • 300 UK minutes
  • Unlimited UK texts
  • 50 international minutes (to 41 countries)

TalkMobile (£5 a month)

  • Includes 1GB Data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts

Asda Mobile (£5 a month)

  • 3GB data
  • Unlimited minutes
  • Unlimited texts

Lyca Mobile (£4.75 a month with discount of £1.95 for first three months)

  • Unlimited UK minutes and texts
  • 50 International minutes (to 41 countries)
  • EU Roaming

Do I need to pass a credit check?

Signing up for a mobile phone deal could mean having to pass a credit check. The credit checks for mobiles aren’t as strict as applying for a credit card or loan. However, if you also have a poor credit rating as well as being on benefits you should be aware this may affect the choices available to you. 

Settling for a 1-month contract SIM-only plan with no credit check would be your easiest option. Many providers offer rolling monthly deals including:

  • VOXI
  • Lebara Mobile
  • Smarty
  • giffgaff

What the best way to get a cheap mobile phone?

You won’t get a mobile phone with any SIM Only deal so this is something you’ll have to source yourself. The good news is that phones now come unlocked as standard and there are some very budget-friendly second-hand options available.

There are many reputable sites where you can source excellent used and refurbished mobiles and you can often find very up-to-date models for the fraction of their original selling price.

Some of these devices may have some marks or scratches although all should be in good working order. Keep an eye out for any conditions or gradings the seller provides which will shed some light on the state of the phone. There’s no standardised grading for refurbished phones but it will be along these lines:

  • Excellent (Grade A): as new, or perfect condition with very minor scratches.
  • Very Good (Grade B): Screen in perfect condition but body may have micro scratches or other light cosmetic damage.
  • Good/Fair (Grade C): Screen may have some micro-scratches; body may have chips or dents and would look used.

When purchasing from a reputable refurbished phone seller keep a lookout to make sure the phone includes a guarantee or a returns policy. This way if there’s any issue with the functionality of the device you can easily return it for an easy repair or exchange.

Of course, you can always keep an eye out for cheap second-hand phones on marketplaces such as Ebay, Gumtree or Facebook. However, these won’t come with any protection or warranty and probably will be ‘sold as seen’ so come with more risk.

Written in collaboration with

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *