Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Beware of mobile phone costs running up debt

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

FOR many people, having a mobile phone has become an essential part of their everyday life.

And with shops full of special offers, some folk will be planning to treat themselves to an upgrade this Christmas.

But before you sign up to a new contract, it’s worth considering new research from a charity which found some people were struggling to pay their mobile phone costs.

The research from National Debtline, run by the Money Advice Trust (MAT), discovered that young people in particular found it difficult to juggle bills.

Some are missing payments and borrowing to cover the cash, according to the survey of more than 2000 18 to 24-year-olds.

Around one in 12 (8.5%) regularly struggle to pay mobile phone bills or top up credit.

Among those who have a contract, 8% have missed at least one monthly payment in the last year. And 7% of people in this age group have borrowed cash from a friend or family member to pay a bill.

National Debtline says around one in 10 calls it receives involves telephone debts, up from around one in 25 calls in 2007.

Joanna Elson, chief executive of MAT, says: “We would urge anyone who is falling behind with their mobile phone, or any other, household bill to seek free advice from a charity-run service like National Debtline as soon as possible.”

To avoid spending more than they need to, National Debtline said people should check they aren’t shelling out for more minutes, text and data than they really require.

It also suggests shopping around and using websites like to help find a good deal.

Meanwhile, Ofcom, the regulator for the UK’s communication industries, says it’s working to help improve support for customers who are struggling with their bills.

A spokeswoman said: “We’re encouraging mobile providers to work more closely with debt advice organisations and improve the support they offer to customers facing payment difficulties.”