Best Free PAYG SIM cards in the UK Mobile Market

Although in the UK pay monthly and SIM only deals are the most common type of mobile phone deals. Some consumers, particularly lower data users are looking for PAYG deals that minimize their costs they spend on their mobile device. With one of the PAYG SIM’s mentioned in this article you can top up whenever you like and use your credit for as long as you need without worrying about expiring, £10 of credit could last you months! In this article, we will run through some of the best free PAYG SIM cards you can get, which all come with the benefit of needing no credit check to purchase. We will also cover some other PAYG deals which work in a similar way to SIMO deals, giving you the flexibility of a PAYG deal without the need for a credit check.

Aug 12th, 2019

Three

Key Features

  • 99% 4G coverage
  • Rates – 3p/minute, 2p/text, and 1p/MB
  • Add ons available with opportunity to earn rewards

Pro’s

  • Lot’s of bundle options
  • Easy to top up

 

Con’s

  • PAYG rewards only available with add ons

 

Three have one of the most competitive PAYG deals in the market with their 321 scheme – which is equivalent to 3p/min, 2p/text and 1p/MB of data used. With Three customers have the flexibility of topping up their account and then using their credit however they wish through 321, or alternatively purchasing an add on which lasts anywhere from a month to three months. In both cases, customers get a PAYG SIM card for free. The number of add on options are also great with Three, all of which come with unlimited minutes, texts and access to Three’s great Go Roam Scheme. These start from £10 which lasts for 30 days and gives customers 2GB of data, all the way to £35 for unlimited data. With these add ons customers can also build up rewards such as free subscriptions and vouchers! However, one thing to consider is that if Three doesn’t detect any usage on your PAYG SIM for 180 consecutive days they will deactivate your account. Check the latest Three Mobile Review here.

O2

  Key Features

  • Free Wi-Fi accessibility
  • Rates – 3p/minute, 2p/text, and 1p/MB

Pro’s

  • Extra perks
  • Big data network

 

Con’s

  • Minimum £10 top up to get benefits

 

O2 is one of the largest networks in the UK and has a couple different options when it comes to PAYG. The first option is Classic Pay-As-You-Go. This classic tariff offers customers usage at 3p per min, 2p per text and 1p per MB of data. This also gives customers access to exclusive deals and discounts under the O2 Priority Loyalty Scheme. Customers can also access 15,000 O2 Wi-Fi hotspots for free in the UK. However, with the classic PAYG sim, customers have to top up a minimum of £10 to get this benefit. But this can then be used however you want. The other alternative for customers is to get a Big Bundle which is a set bundle of minutes, texts and data for a month. This is a great option if you start to burn through more of your credit with customers able to get better value for money through one of these bundles.

Vodafone

Key Features
  • 6 months inactivity period
  • 4G coverage
  • Rates – 20p/minute/text/5MB Data

Pro’s

  • A 9-month credit validity period
  • Flexible daily limit

 

Con’s

  • Pricey for low usage customers

 

Vodafone customers can get a free PAYG SIM card, top up and use their credit as they wish. However, with rates of 20p per minute, text and per 5MB of data their rates can be pricey. But, with PAYG 1 customers that hit £1 of daily spend, unlimited minutes, texts and 500mb of data are unlocked for the rest of the day. Alternatively, if you want to make your top up stretch further, you can purchase a Big Value Bundle which start as low as £5. With any minutes, texts and data that remain unused, you can roll these over to the next day. Again, customers who don’t register any usage in a 6 month period on their SIM are deactivated from the network. Vodafone offers a number of other perks, more so for their contract customers but check out our detailed Vodafone review to find out more about the network.

Giffgaff

giffgaff review Key Features
  • 6 months inactivity period
  • Payback points
  • Rates – 15p/minute, 5p/text, and 5p/MB

Pro’s

  • Cheap plans
  • Opportunity to earn redeemable points

 

Con’s

  • There’s a minimum limit

 

Lastly, we have Giffgaff which actually doesn’t expect you to subscribe to any of their data bundles to get a free PAYG Sim. The network runs on O2’s mobile network and so you can expect to enjoy O2’s 4G speed. Currently, they have a reward scheme that allows you to accumulate ‘payback points’ for informing the community about Giffgaff. Giffgaff also offer customers ‘goodybags’ which automatically renew every 30 days and the deal can be changed each month dependent on changes in your usage. The minimum top-up on the platform is £5. With rates of 15p per minute, 5p per text & 5p per MB of data consumed. Like all other networks, Giffgaff will deactivate your PAYG SIM if it stays inactive for 6 months.  We’ve done an in-depth Giffgaff Review here.

No Credit Check SIM only PAYG deals

If you’re looking for PAYG deals due to having poor credit and having been refused a contract, there may be another option that might of interest. With a large number of mobile users having poor credit history, preventing them from getting a SIM only or phone contract, some networks now offer no credit check SIM only deals.

How do these SIM only deals work?

No Credit Check SIMs work similarly to PAYG plans, whereby customers pay up front, i.e. credit their account but then this is converted into a bundle of minutes, texts & data. These plans can then be set to auto renew so the contract is paid each month. All these deals are on a 30 day or 1 month rolling contract, which means they are commitment free!

Are they just for customers with bad credit?

These plans are for more than just customers with poor credit history, they are great options for customers that are younger than 18 or individuals that have recently migrated to the UK. With these deals also all being 30 day or 1 month rolling deals, there is no commitment and great for customers on the lookout for the best deal available. Below are some of the best No Credit Check SIM only PAYG deals available in the market.

SMARTY

SMARTY Review

Pro’s

  • Low cost options
  • Discount of your next bill for any unused data

 

Con’s

  • No additional perks

 

SMARTY is best known for allowing customers to have their money back for unused data. At the end of the month, Smarty calculates the amount of leftover data in your monthly allowance. Based on their calculation, they deduct the unused data cost from your next bill. Piggybacking on the Three network, customers will get great coverage and fast speeds and with deals starting as low as £6.25 with unlimited minutes and texts, you will be getting great value for money, learn more about SMARTY mobile in our network review.

Giffgaff

giffgaff review

Pro’s

  • Availability of reward points
  • Runs on the reliable O2 network

 

Con’s

  • There’s a minimum limit

 

Giffgaff is an MVNO running on the reliable O2 network which offers customers great 4G coverage. Giffgaff has no credit checks with all of their SIM only deals, simply top up your account at the start of the month and select a ‘goodybag’. These ‘goodybags’ are great for customers looking for low cost plans as they start from £6 a month, but also have an unlimited data option for heavy data users. Currently, Giffgaff does not have credit checks across all their pay monthly SIM deals. Customers are allowed to pay for their preferred plans in advance. As mentioned, you should expect to enjoy O2’s 4G speed while on Giffgaff. You should also remember to take advantage of their payback points. You can check our Giffgaff Review to learn more.

Tesco Mobile

tesco review

Pro’s

  • Better value for data
  • Upfront payment

 

Con’s

  • There’s a minimum limit

 

Running on O2’s network just like Giffgaff, Tesco enjoys 99% coverage in the UK. Tesco have a PAYG option that works very similar to a SIM only deal. Customers top up and convert their credit into a Rocket Pack which are bundles with a monthly set of data, minutes and texts. For a £10 Rocket Pack, you get 3GB of data, 500 minutes and 5000 texts. Again, no credit check is needed with these rocket packs as they are pre-paid. Check our Tesco Review to learn more about the network. There are a number of other great no credit check SIM only deals available, we go into detail about these networks in our No Credit Check SIM only deals article. Have a read to learn about all the networks offering these deals and the different benefits you can receive with each of them.