Phoning 0871 numbers from abroad – how much do they cost?

What is an 0871 number? Basically, it is a fixed-rate non-geographic number, or service number, used by companies and organisations, such as sales and telemarketing agencies, or contact directories. If you need an 0871 number, you can buy one here. Many TV companies use them for viewers to register a phone vote during a program, or to enter a competition. Since July 2015, the Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA), has regulated such numbers and companies are now obliged to clearly advertise the cost of their fixed-rate numbers, such as those beginning 08, 09 etc.

Cost of calling 0871 numbers from outside the UK

The cost of dialling an 0871 number from abroad is made up of two parts. The first part is the Access Charge and this is set by your phone service provider. Information of the pence-per-minute rate will usually be itemised on your bill. The second part of the call charge is the Service Charge and this is set by the organisation that you are calling. The rate for this can be up to approximately 13-pence per minute and exact information of the rate will be provided by the company you are contacting. For example, if you were to enter a competition set by a TV program, they would normally display the following information,

“Calls to this number (0871), are charged at 10-pence per minute, plus the access rate from your service provider.”

Therefore, if your phone provider charges 5-pence per minute for calling a service number, then the total cost of your call would be 15-pence per minute. These charges apply and are the same, whether using a landline, or a mobile phone. However, it is worth checking with your service provider before calling an 0871 number from abroad, as some of the smaller companies don’t allow such calls. It is also worth bearing in mind, that if you are using a public payphone whilst abroad, the call-rate could be substantially higher, depending on the company operating the telephones.

One other thing to bear in mind when calling an 0871 number from abroad, is that whilst it is a non-geographic number, you will still need to use the appropriate country area code prefix, the UK’s being +44. You then omit the first “0” of the number you are making, thus making it 00 44 871……

In summary, you would normally expect to pay in the region of 10-pence per minute when calling an 0871 number from abroad, plus the access charge from your service provider. It is always important to check these rates before travelling, so you can effectively and accurately budget for your phone calls.