With Pay As You Go, there’s no need to sign any contracts. Find out how to get a free SIM card and which PAYG networks offer the lowest prices.

Instead of getting a Pay Monthly contract, many consumers prefer to use their phone on a Pay As You Go basis. Compared to Pay Monthly, Pay As You Go offers better flexibility: there’s no need to sign any 24-month contracts and you have the ability to change networks or tariffs at any time you like. There’s also no need to undergo a credit check and there’s no chance of spending more than your top-up. With better spend control, Pay As You Go can often be the perfect product for younger mobile users.

In the UK, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Pay As You Go. There are more than 20 networks offering a Pay As You Go service. Frequent smartphone users can take advantage of a bundle for even better rates. In this section, read more about the UK’s Pay As You Go tariffs.

Free Pay As You Go SIM Cards: The Best PAYG Deals In The UK

There are 15 mobile networks that offer a free Pay As You Go SIM card. Discover the UK's best Pay As You Go SIMs.

Best Pay As You Go SIM For Light Users: No Monthly Top-Up & No Expiry

If you're a light mobile user, it's best to choose a low-cost Pay As You Go plan with no monthly subscription or credit expiry.

Compare Pay As You Go Networks: Rates & Mobile Coverage

Looking for the cheapest Pay As You Go rates in the UK? Our interactive table allows you to compare Pay As You Go tariffs and mobile network coverage.

Best Pay As You Go Bundles: UK's Cheapest Prepaid Mobile Plans

With a Pay As You Go bundle, you'll convert your credit into a one-month allowance of minutes, texts and mobile data. Compare the UK’s best value bundles.

5G Pay As You Go SIM Cards: 5G Plans With No Contract & Credit Check

You can get a 5G Pay As You Go SIM card from £5/month with no contract and no credit check required.

UK Pay As You Go eSIMs: Best eSIM Plans With No Contract & Credit Check

You can get a UK Pay As You Go eSIM from giffgaff, Lyca Mobile and Uki Mobile. Compare Pay As You Go eSIMs for the UK.

Pay As You Go SIM & Credit Expiry: Minimum Usage Requirements

To stop your Pay As You Go SIM card & credit from expiring, there's a minimum usage requirement on most UK mobile networks.

Your Comments 15 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 15 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.


    Thank you very much for your excellent information. I am in the U.S. and travel to Britain occasionally and the last phone I had has expired (several years old). I use my U.S. phone in Britain on WIFI and use Google Hangouts Dialer. But I would like another U.K. phone for standby. It also seems like to get access to the hotspots from networks like O2 you have to have a U.K. mobile number.
    I like the O2 Classic Plan and will enroll in it…but was wondering if you have a recommendation for a very cheap handset..I looked at O2 s Alcatle and the Alcatel Pixie 4 or the ZTE BLade..is this the best way to go?
    Again, thank you so much for all of your fine work and excellent writing/presentation. It is much appreciated.

    • Hi Neil,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m afraid I don’t have a specific handset to recommended amongst this price range, though if you’re just looking for a basic phone that can make phone calls and do some basic browsing, all of the handsets you’ve mentioned should probably be fine! If you’re willing to spend a little bit more, I do rather like the Moto G, but I don’t think it’s worth it if you only want to use it on your trips here (more an option if you want a GSM handset that you can continue to use when you go back home as well).

  • Rakesh Dharamsi said:

    Hi Ken
    I am from New Zealand and planing to travel to UK and Europe and need a sim to cover, I plan to use more data then calling what do you recommend.

    • Hi Cleveland,
      To the best of my knowledge, I don’t believe Lycamobile has cruise ship roaming. However, you might be able to pick up a land-based network when close to the shore which would allow you to use Lycamobile. If you’d like a definitive answer to this question, it’s probably worth contacting Lycamobile directly.
      Hope this helps,

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