Money & Banking

Wed, 7 Mar, 2018Danielle McCarthy

How to avoid excess data charges

How to avoid excess data charges

These days it’s hard to imagine life without being able to access the internet whenever we want from our smartphone or tablet computer. Unfortunately, it’s almost just as difficult to imagine life without massive phone bills from excess data charges.

It’s so easy to underestimate how much data you’ve used when you’re on the fly, and with excess charges often amounting to roughly $10 for every 1GB over your limit, there’s a very real financial consequence for exceeding your quota.

Why are the charges so big?

With mobile phone plans, the devil is in the detail. Your monthly standard rate might seem reasonable, but it’s the fees for excess usage hidden in the fine print that are designed to take you to the cleaners. It’s a good idea to consider your usage, before selecting any mobile plan. If there’s a good change you’re going to get close to, or exceed your limit, on a regular basis, you might want to upgrade to a heftier phone plan. 

What can I do to avoid these charges?

While there’s not much you can do if you’re stuck in a shonky plan (aside from breaking it or riding it out) there are a few measures you can take to manage your data usage.

  • Switching to pre-paid - This can be a good option for chronic over-users who are frequently exceeding their data limit. That said, it’s just as important to monitor your usage with a prepaid plan, as there’s nothing worse than running out of credit when you need it!
  • Family data sharing plans - These plans are relatively new to the market and allow family members to share and combine data limits, which can be a cost-effective way to save on telco bills. It requires a bit of corporation but can be a great saving-strategy.
  • Avoid the apps that use the most data - Apps like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Spotify are notorious data-guzzlers so make sure you keep the use of these apps to a premium. If you must use any of these apps, consider streaming them on Wi-Fi.

What are your thoughts? Will you take any of these suggestions onboard?