Hidden Fees to Watch for on your Cell Phone Bill

Signing a phone contract often comes with attractive incentives, including a low monthly rate, unlimited texting, and even a free smartphone. Yet when many consumers start to receive their first bills in the mail, they can be startled by higher numbers than they were expecting. Whether it’s due to international rates, roaming charges, or going over a data allowance, there are many small fees that can really add up over the course of the month. To stay within your budget, it’s important to learn about these potential extra charges and what you can do to avoid them.

Subscription Services

Have you ever been tempted to cast your vote on a reality show or download a free ringtone that you see advertised? These types of services can suck you in to a subscription service that you didn’t ask for. Always read the fine print in advertisements to see if you’re paying a one-time fee for that ringtone, vote, or app. If an offer is free or seems too good to be true, it probably is. In most cases, you can simply text the word “STOP” to an unwanted subscription service.

Overage Costs

With today’s wide range of phone service providers and calling plans, there’s no need to pay for more minutes that you use. If you don’t make frequent phone calls, you might want to opt for a low monthly minute allowance and use a calling card to make cheap calls abroad. However, if you’re not sure what your phone usage will look like, it’s better to choose a plan that offers more minutes. Going over your allowance can lead to paying high per-minute rates, which can cause your phone bill to rapidly skyrocket.

Unwanted Extras

It’s not uncommon to think you have signed up for a certain monthly plan, only to receive your first phone bill and find a bevy of additional fees. Service providers may charge you for phone insurance or music download services that you don’t want or need. When you’re signing up for a contract, read your contract carefully and cancel any services you don’t plan on using. If you’re going to get extras, it’s better to ask for a free SIM card or phone upgrade rather than something that will cost you more money!

Overactive Apps

You can download many mobile phone extras these days, including many exciting apps. What some users don’t realize is that these apps can keep pushing content over to the phone, even when the app is seemingly not in use. This can use up all of your data allowance in no time. Be sure that your app is using your mobile network or local Wi-Fi.

Roaming Charges

It’s tempting to take your mobile phone abroad. You can use it to keep in touch with your loved ones, download maps, and research things to do at your destination. This can lead to sticker shock when you get a huge phone bill back home, however. Be sure to use local Wi-Fi before downloading maps while traveling, and turn your phone off whenever possible to avoid roaming charges.

By keeping an eye out for extra fees on your bill, you can usually keep costs down and only pay what you originally signed up for.