about the principles
One of the reasons that Ofcom endorses billmonitor.com is because billmonitor.com is proudly independent and impartial. It searches every contract and every deal on the market to find the right one, and when it finds it, it also lists at least one other contract from every major network to ensure you get a good spread for comparison and a balanced view.
billmonitor.com is not incentivised to recommend one network over another or one particular type of contract or handset over another. There’s only one way it can be the right contract for billmonitor.com, and that’s if it’s exactly the right contract for you.
To make sure that each network is fairly represented, billmonitor.com always displays the best deal from each network among the dozen recommendations (unless the network does not provide any deals that match your usage or preferences). The remaining recommendations displayed are also balanced between the networks, by limiting the total number of deals shown by one network so that other networks also get some other of their deals shown. These recommendations are then ordered by cost, from the least to the most expensive, before being finally displayed to you.
A key billmonitor.com principle is being transparent about how it makes money. Very simply, billmonitor.com takes a commission from the network or vendor you buy through if you buy a new (right) contract through billmonitor.com.
On top of that commission, billmonitor.com adds – well, nothing actually. Using billmonitor.com to check whether your contract is right is not only a very good idea, it’s absolutely free.
Another key billmonitor principle is to make the whole mobile phone world more financially transparent to you too. The financial consequences of using more minutes or fewer texts or more data or a particular kind of handset or dialling 0800 or 0870 numbers are rarely made clear and are a big part of why so many people are on the wrong contract. That’s why billmonitor.com not only does the maths to find you the right contract, it also gives you some basic rules of thumb so you can understand why a contract costs what it costs. For example, 0800 and 0870 numbers are free or charged at local rate from your landline but always fall outside your mobile call allowance so become an expensive extra on your mobile bills.
billmonitor.com is also transparent about what it does and what it doesn’t do and what it includes in its calculations (almost everything) and what is doesn’t include (very little)…
- It doesn’t support “pay as you go” tariffs.
- If you have a business tariff, you can try Billmonitor for Business.
- "Unlimited" usage allowances often come with a standard fair usage policy – you should check with the operator if you’re concerned.
- It can’t tell you how “calling circles” or “favourite numbers” would affect your bill because it doesn’t keep track of the actual phone numbers you call – mainly to safeguard your privacy.
- The prices it quotes are internet-only and might be different if you go to a shop. Also you might be charged a delivery cost for a new phone which isn’t included in its calculations.
- The Ofcom-approved calculator takes into account all out-of-allowance costs for usage specified by the user (e.g. standard calls, texts, data, picture messages, roaming and international usage). However, the calculator does not take into account the cost of non-geographic or premium numbers, or any other usage that has not already been specified by the user.
- The bill analysis tool assumes one set of prices when calculating the costs of calling non-geographical and premium numbers (e.g. 0845, 0870 and 0871), whilst in practice different networks may charge for these numbers differently.
- Operators might charge you extra fees for paying by certain methods such as credit cards but since billmonitor.com doesn’t know how you are going to pay, it doesn’t take this into account.
maths first, money second
Of course billmonitor is interested in making money but not when it’s in conflict with providing the right service. So billmonitor will not offer you a contract incorrectly. If billmonitor runs its analysis and finds that your current contract is already right, it will congratulate you rather than sell to you.
Similarly, billmonitor will not let you buy a contract too quickly. Letting you to buy a contract quickly requires a quick process and a quick process means your chances of finding the right contract are dramatically reduced. Price comparison sites (masters of the quick sale) have a 37% chance of finding you the wrong contract. A little time spent with billmonitor.com will allow the maths to do its job and will reduce that error figure to 0.8%.
That way you benefit from the full savings and full value that come from being on the right contract. And maybe that way you will come to billmonitor.com when you need another new contract, or recommend billmonitor.com to others, both of which help billmonitor.com to make money in the right way.
billmonitor.com is a work in progress. After six years in development it has a 99.2% chance of finding you the right contract. That percentage is good but it also means that on some occasions, billmonitor.com will throw up its algorithmic hands and admit to being stumped.
The reason it is stumped on those occasions is simply statistical – it does not have the information needed to calculate that particular case. So billmonitor.com is always looking for any missing information to make its calculations as precise and reliable as possible.
If you receive an email from billmonitor.com saying that it does not recognise the information you have provided, and if you have the time to give more details, then please email the billmonitor team. Not only can the team input your new information manually to find you the right contract, the information can also be added to billmonitor’s algorithms to find others the right contract and bring that 0.8% down further.
billmonitor.com is not only only a mathematical work in progress, it is also a user experience work in progress too. If you have any thoughts about how to make it more explanatory, more logical or more useful, then again please email the billmonitor team.