Help me understand how to top up my PAYG account.
October 9, 2008 4:11 PM   Subscribe

Idiot-Cellphone-Filter: Oh God, oh God, I do not understand your UK cellphone-topping up technology. I just got a UK cellphone (with Orange) and I do not understand how to get money into it. (Waving 5 quid in front of it while shrieking "make my balance go up", strangely, does not work.)

Okay. So. I have a credit-card looking thing, that's registered to my Orange account, and I've seen stuff everywhere about "top up your cellphone here!" How does this *work*? To break it down, I guess -- how do I get money into my PAYG account, using either the card, or these topping-up points? I tried putting the card in, but it got treated like a debit card, and I pretty much gave up there.

Thank you for your kindness as I wander my way through this strange new culture :)
posted by kalimac to Technology (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Go into a store that sells top ups and they will take your money and give you a receipt. The receipt has a code on it. You dial your top up number* wait till prompted and enter the code. Presto- more minutes.

*this is likely in your address book on your phone already. If not just call customer service or look it up online.
posted by fshgrl at 4:18 PM on October 9, 2008

If you can't figure it out, go to an Orange shop or a Carphone Warehouse and they will explain all.
posted by grouse at 4:19 PM on October 9, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you! Both of you :)
posted by kalimac at 4:29 PM on October 9, 2008

Instructions for the various methods (use the tabs, the links 404, tsk). I've never used a swipe card; I just registered my credit card with them and use it to top up using SMS.
posted by Freaky at 4:32 PM on October 9, 2008

Best answer: If you have a top-up card already registered to your phone, you can go into any shop that does PayPoint (most newsagents and supermarkets), hand over the card and your money (IIRC only in multiples of £5) and they'll add the money to your account automagically.

Alternatively you can get vouchers where you scratch off the back of the card to reveal a code, phone an automated phone line and type it into the prompt. These come with instructions.

If you have a debit or credit card, most ATMs will let you top up from there. Most providers will also let you register your card onto your phone's account and top it up via their automated phone lines.

Hope that helps.
posted by HaloMan at 5:36 PM on October 9, 2008

Oh, and we call them mobile phones over here in the UK, not cell phones. ;)
posted by HaloMan at 5:37 PM on October 9, 2008

Dial 450 and speak to customer services. Once you've done that, you can top up online, by voucher, by swipecard, etc.
posted by Solomon at 11:22 PM on October 9, 2008

Response by poster: HaloMan -- d'oh. Hee, thank you. (I did finally stop calling my lectures 'classes'. Much to everyone's relief.)
posted by kalimac at 1:16 AM on October 10, 2008

When my PAYG phone gets low on credit I can call a particular number and top it up by credit card - that is, type in the credit card number and £ amount and that amount gets transferred. Your provider's website will probably have the number to call.
posted by Mike1024 at 2:15 AM on October 10, 2008

You can also generally top up by going to a cash point (ATM :-) and typing in your phone number,.
posted by laukf at 2:47 AM on October 10, 2008

I actually find the cashpoint/atm method quickest. (You have to type your phone number into the cashpoint twice, that's it. Whereas if I call the top-up line it makes me type in all my bank details and address, plus I have to go through various sub-menus and listen to some woman on Mogadon tell me about various special offers which I have no interest in.)

Just don't avoid topping up by atm if there's a huge line behind you. Y'know, unless you like being glared at.

And out of curiosity, how do you top up PAYG phones in the states?
posted by the latin mouse at 3:44 AM on October 10, 2008

In the States, you can either call the provider directly, or buy a scratch-off card somewhere like Target. Or you can buy the number off the web for a substantial discount (I think my last card off the web was $92.50 for a $100 card).
posted by grouse at 7:32 AM on October 10, 2008

With Orange I found the easiest way to top up was by text (SMS). You register your credit/debit card by calling 450 from your mobile.

Then text "1234 05 987" to 2886, where 1234 is the last four digits of your card number, and 987 is the 3-digit code on the back. 05 is to top up by £5. If you save this text in your phone as a draft or whatever, topping is very quick and easy.
posted by matthewr at 2:32 PM on October 10, 2008

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